deMeng and Engen (deMEngen) present: Beautiful Beasts ArtVenture
February 5-12, 2017
Sunday, February 5, 2017
I took a 7:00 a.m. flight out of Milwaukee heading to New Orleans for another deMEngen event: Beautiful Beasts ArtVenture. The great news was to Atlanta I had three seats across with no fellow travelers. A 12:15 p.m. (Eastern) exit out of Atlanta got me to NOLA by 12:45 p.m. (Central) and on an airport shuttle to the Hotel St. Marie.
On the first trip to NOLA years ago was Christine Edwards who is on her first NOLA since #1. It was fun to share a lunch with her and catch up.
We are traveling this afternoon over to the house of artist Linda Berman. Linda is kind enough to share her stash with other assemblage artist and so many people want to go that we have to split into two groups. When it is my time to go, it is also a pleasure to reacquaint with Mike, the van driver extraordinaire.
A work in progress that I loved
To my great surprise, Linda had arranged for NOLA artist John Feskin to join her at her house. He had quite the display of art and it was exciting because I already owned a piece by him I purchased at the Frenchman Street Art Market the year before. We talked for quite awhile and then I bought a second piece by him for my collection at home.
Andrea Matus deMeng
Back at the hotel I helped Andrea Matus deMeng set up her workshop with Kelley Clarke, Lynn Ovenden, Marilyn Werst and Christine. That night we ate at Vacherie in the Hotel St. Marie and watched the second half of the Superbowl before heading to bed.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Today starts with the Beautiful Beasts Coat of Arms Banner Workshop with Andrea Matus deMeng.
Here is the course description: "Whether you’ll be walking down Bourbon street as “Clint Beastwood,” “Queen Elizardbeth the I” or “Marie Antelopette” you’ll want to herald your arrival through the French Quarter with all the splendor and circumstance of medieval beastly royalty. In this optional, one day workshop we are going to create our own fantastically fierce work of art inspired by the traditional coat of arms. Almost everything you’ll need is covered in your kit fee with a couple of exceptions and because I want to make sure you have the best day possible I just wanted to cover a couple of quick things."
Andrea's Class Sample
Here are the collage elements that I started with
Here is what my base looked like before the gluing started
We worked all day on our banners and here is the result: parade banner video.
Our evening excursion is to MovieSet: Reel Venue in Slidell. We are in a number of vans provided by Mike; my van is driven by a woman named Joyce who has to decide if she stays in the convoy and conquers her fear of the bridge leading to Slidell. To our great joy, with a few squeals from her, we made it over the bridge. Then, we could not find MovieSet (which in her defense, is a strange place to find). After stopping in a Wendys to get our bearings (but no food), we join the rest of the group at the site.
Katherine had arranged for a catered meal for us which consisted of Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, and Red Beans with other complimentary items.
After dinner we got parade dance lessons from Michael deMeng. Don't ask.
MovieSets hosts events because who would not want to walk among authentic movie props and sets used in movies filmed in Louisiana like American Horror Story, Dawn of Planet of the Apes, Django Unchained, and Maze Runner.
with Kelley Clarke at MovieSets
with Lynn Ovenden and Kelley Clarke in the hotel lobby
When we got back to the St. Marie we went to bar and had a heated discussion (positive) with Andrea, Vickie and K.D. about art and life before heading to bed.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Today is the first day of the Beautiful Beasts Workshop with Michael deMeng. Here is the course description: "In Michael’s workshop, your task will be to create a fantastical beast using the processes of assemblage. This could be approached in a number of ways. You could create a shrine representing a myth inspiring hybrid featuring critters such as minotaurs, and ganeshas, and centaurs…oh my. Or maybe your preference is a personified beast from children’s stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Aesop’s fables or the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. An alternate approach would be to create a bedazzled beasty…ornate and bejeweled in something similar to renaissance armor."
We did have a weird weather experience in the workshop today. The workshop is sheltered with our only view of the outside being the courtyard in the core center of the hotel. We knew it was raining but no one was worried until one by one all the cell phones started to beep with a weather alter. There was a tornado in NOLA! We were pretty limited in what we could do because Midwesterners know to run to the basement--but there are no basements in NOLA for obvious reasons. By the time we wondered if we should do anything it was pretty much over but through the news we were able to discover that some buildings were damaged extensively a short distance from the French Quarter.
Because of the weather our Airboat Swamp Tour for the afternoon was understandably cancelled.
Here is what I accomplished on day one in the workshop.
My figurative base
After working awhile in the workshop I went gallery shopping with Kimber Bosse, Kelley and Christine.
Kimber tries on a mask
That night dinner was at 801 Royal Restaurant. I walked Bourbon Street which is always a weird experience. I have to be honest and say the first years we came I thought this was pretty exciting but now it is just looking tired, full of people trying to force the party aspect. Before heading to bed, I spent a little time in the workshop with Tina and Joann.