Blue Dog—Red Dog, Yellow Dog—and Art!
It’s always hard to explain. And any art form is subjective. My cup of tea is your poison, or your raw onions are delicious to me.
I happen to be in love with Blue Dog—and I’m certainly not alone. Blue Dog has become iconic in New Orleans.
With good reason.
Artist George Rodrique was born in New Iberia (where he also has a studio) in 1944. He studied in Louisiana and in Los Angeles, learning the nuts and bolts of drawing and painting. Since my artistic talent is somewhere between and nil and none, I don’t know a great deal about shade and shadow, brush strokes, or the many things art connoisseurs do know. But I know what I like—and I know that it makes me smile.
My sister, Vickie, had a lot to do with
Rodrique made use of his home in his art; he depicted Cajun life and history. He’s well known for creating atmosphere and a certain kind of spell. He has created images that incorporate the past and the present with ghosts appearing in the landscape he knows so well.
Blue Dog began as a ghost dog in a grayish blue color with red eyes. But Blue Dog was a ghost—or modeled after Rodrique’s Tiffany, a pet he had lost long before painting his first image.
Now, you don’t have to go to the studio to see Blue Dog; Blue Dog is iconic. Paintings and prints featuring Blue Dog can be seen in restaurants and hotels and other venues throughout the city. But if you discover that you love Blue Dog and have to get a little closer, you’ll have to
Blue Dog is featured in books and has been pictured with many famous people in the arts, sports, and politics. My one and only foray into buying real art was a small signed print for my sister, and since then, every trip I take means a stop by at the studio. Just as Twilight touched upon teen-aged angst and falling in love, just as the Mona Lisa follows others, and just as the song “Memories” reminds us all of what being young and filled with hope was like, Blue Dog touches something in us. Blue Dog can bring a smile, maybe remind us of a beloved pet long gone, or just brighten the day somehow.
Now, of course, I’ve gone on and on about Blue Dog. All of Rodrique’s art is special, haunting, intriguing, and touched with something very real—even when reality is in the form of ghosts.
I have never met George Rodrique—I’m willing to bet I’d really like the man! There’s just something about that dog . . . . (Not to take a thing away from his other wonderful work!)
Beyond Blue Dog and Rodrique, New Orleans remains a mecca for all kinds of art.
Royal Street is known for its art shops but there are many scattered throughout the French Quarter and the city. You’ll find estate paintings, older pieces, and works by well-known masters. If contemporary art is special to you, you may want to take a trip to Julia Street in the Warehouse/Art District but if you’re fascinated by a stunning trip from gallery to gallery, just take a look at the many
As you pass fantastic street performers, you’ll also see fantastic artists along the way. It’s a way of life in New Orleans; it’s everywhere!
One more particular favorite of mine is the Craig Tracy Gallery, 827 Royal
As with restaurants, I couldn’t begin to describe all of the art and artists in New Orleans. You can buy the acknowledged sublime, or you can find your own treasure. I have dozens of friends who have purchased a piece from a budding artist in Jackson Square—only to discover years later that their piece is worth tons and the artist they chatted with in the shade of the cathedral is now on the touted list!
No matter what your pleasure, metal work, glass, paintings, sketches . . . you’ll find something that amazes you, and something that will allow you to bring back a little bit of New Orleans.