Black Heritage Gallery opens exhibit by Lake Charles native based in New Orleans
Published 11:12 am Friday, February 3, 2023
An exhibition visually embodying the spirit of New Orleans jazz will be opening at the Black Heritage Gallery on Friday, Feb. 3.
“Art by Troy Guilbeaux” is a collection of 25 vibrant paintings created by Lake Charles native Troy Guilbeaux.
He began sketching and drawing when he was young, but his dream of being an artist began after a field trip to New Orleans. “I remember a trip a nun from school had taken us on in 7th grade.” The sights of street artists inspired him. “I fell in love with Jackson Square.”
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As he went to college and began a career in information systems, this dream was put on the backburner. He eventually found himself in Atlanta, where his spark was renewed after selling a pastel painting to a gallery in Atlanta. “After a gallery bought one, I began to wonder if I could make a living doing this.”
Guilbeaux subsequently resigned from his job to start his own art company, Africa On My Mind, Inc.
“It was difficult in Atlanta. I made a few sales, but not a career,” he said. “But when I returned home to be with elderly parents, I remembered the New Orleans art community.” Despite delays from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he has been painting in the city for 15 years and currently sells his art in Jackson Square.
Guilbeaux’s pieces are vibrant and full of life. He describes his style as folk impressionistic with “some pop art and love.”
Everything about New Orleans – especially jazz music – remains his muse. “I am inspired by the colorful, lively city life of jazz musicians,” he said. “It is the soundtrack of New Orleans!”
His images come to him from observing his surroundings. “I just flow with what I see around me that inspires me and just go with the feeling at that time.”
This has been a consistent practice throughout his career. The first pastel that he sold in Atlanta was a visage of a man washing clothes in an old iron pot, much like his grandparents when he was young.
Guilbeaux creates his pieces with acrylics, oils, plaster and epoxy. For his canvas, he aims to use reclaimed materials. “I’m a green artist whenever possible.” He regularly uses recycled doors, windows, shutters, instruments and wood as vessels for his art.
His ultimate goal is to instill a passion for the arts in the youth. “I just hope to inspire young people to get into the arts, to see there is a future in a beautiful career.”
An opening reception will be hosted at the Lake Charles Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. Troy Guilbeaux will be present. Admission to the reception is free and refreshments will be provided.
The installment will be available for viewing from the opening reception until Friday, March 24.
For more information on Guildbeaux, visit guilbeauxgallery.com.