“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” — Pablo Picasso
New Orleans on St. Patrick’s Day is a great place to be. The city oozes with an appetite for culture, art and the ever-present sound of music. It was the last day of our Big Easy adventure, a parade day no less, and Team Bourbon was on a mission – invade the parade. We figured, if you can be at a parade, you might as well join the parade, as opposed to just watching it.
As we walked the city, sipping hand-grenades and plotting our assent to St. Patty’s day stardom, we hit the market looking for souvenirs. The voice of a lovely young lady caught my ear: “OMG – my Mother told me about you. I can’t believe I found you.” The artist was Reggie Ford, a painter whose urban street art hints at Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Reggie calls it Happie Art.
As team bourbon marveled at Reggie’s Art and got the lowdown from the man himself. Our diminished inhibitions and positive energy was contagious. Fellow travelers began stopping and engaging with Reggie who was more than happy to share his story. His service was fantastic, free prints for serious buyers, traveling tubes, and plastic wrappings for his suave Art boards. As team bourbon loaded up on pictures and Happie Art – Reggie stole the show with his vibrant personality and enlightened passion for his work.
Continue with Happie Art
Reggie Ford’s Story: ‘This Ninth Ward native could have played semi-pro football, but instead chose to share his city’s spirit through his art. Ford has always had a strong command of a paintbrush, if he could acquire one. In 1994, with New Orleans being the murder capital of America, an acquaintance who was a practicing mortician- and busy with the demands of that year – gifted his oil paints and brushes to Ford.
“I got some oil paints and I didn’t know that you needed thinners and stuff to paint with them, and I was painting on bed sheets because i also didn’t know you needed to paint on canvas,” says Ford. He knew he lacked professional knowledge and training. He also knew that his talent and passion for art was a gift. He promised God that if he could someday develop his gift he would stay away from alcohol, smoking, and drugs. To this day Ford denies a friend who might offer to buy him a drink. “I don’t drink,” he says proudly.’
From “La Vie Magazine” by Amanda Sapp – Read the complete Reggie Ford Bio and his tale of Hurricane Katrina.
St. Patty’s day in the Big Easy turned out to be one of the best celebrations of my life; and I captured a piece of its beauty with my Happie Art Collection. Before we left, Reggie showed me one of his favorite paintings; he said “I’m waiting for the day when I will sell the original for 10gs.” With the all the recent hype surrounding urban street artists like Banksy, I think that day is just around the corner for Reggie Ford.
My Happie Art by Reggie hangs just above my desk. It’s a simple reminder to self: open your heart and do what you love with an enlightened passion – then smile and be Happie…
You can find Reggie Ford at Dutch Alley Artists’ Co-op, 912 N. Peters Street in New Orleans. For more information visit his website: www.ReggieArt.com