By Elizabeth Clausen
Among the many pieces of original artwork displayed at The Stockade, one of the most eye-catching is the brightly-colored and highly symbolic painting by David Horton. His work has been favorably reviewed in The International Herald Tribune of Paris, L’Oeil International art magazine of Paris and many other international publications.
In this exclusive interview, Horton talks about his current exhibition at Baton Rouge Gallery, his artistic influences, and how his artwork once saved a marriage!
How did you decide to study art and become an artist?
The truth is, it was just kind of a desperation move. I had already had a good career in design. But I hated advertising. It was stressful and very, very stifling, in terms of your own ability to express yourself. I just decided to go back to school [at LSU] and study fine art as kind of a leap of faith, and you’ll find that theme —’leap of faith’— in all of my work. And it worked out.
You’ve traveled all over the world and done research all around Europe. What was that like?
I spent more time in France. In the eighties, I had a studio in the south of France and I had a studio in Paris. My paintings were quite different back then. They were more serious; my theme at that time was confession. They were not as colorful either.
Spain in the nineties was an eye-opener. I had a studio on the southern coast, and the light and the whole atmosphere was so much different. Spanish are fun-loving people — I can’t say the same about the French … They are in a lot of ways very serious people.
And you’re not a serious person?
I am if I have to be [laughs]. That’s what my paintings were all about. But I found out I could enjoy making work that was more fun and less having to have a heavy philosophical meaning.
You’re having an exhibit at Baton Rouge Gallery this month. Tell me about the pieces that are going to be displayed.
I’m showing new work done in last three years. They’re along same themes that I’ve been exploring in the past. There are twelve pieces. The Baton Rouge Gallery is good for letting people you know see what you’re doing, and it provides an opportunity just to talk to other people about it when they come in.
Can you tell me about the painting that we have on display at The Stockade (pictured above)?
It’s called “Diversions.” If you look in the painting, you’ll see a lot of things that are diverting. She’s carrying a mask, which could also be considered a diversion. The fish represents freedom of choice.
How do you think living in the South has influenced your paintings?
There’s more of the South in there than I care to admit. I’m really from New York, but growing up in the South, you don’t realize how infected you become. It seeps in everywhere. It really would be hard to pick it out in my paintings. Occasionally I’ll be more specific, like including a watermelon in a painting. I spent a lot of time fishing as a child, so fishing comes into my paintings quite a lot.
What do you want people to know about your artwork?
That it’s accessible. People can enjoy it without feeling like they have to get some deep meaning out of it, even though they may have more fun with it if they read my symbols dictionary — then it’s a puzzle.
I had one guy in New Orleans who spotted me in a gallery, came up to me and said, ‘You saved my marriage.’ I said, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ His wife had bought him a painting for his birthday, and in his words, when he got that painting, he said, ‘I had no idea she knew me that well.’
Wow. Is that the weirdest thing anyone has told you about a painting of yours that they bought?
Well actually, the weirdest thing anybody ever told me about my work was a woman who wrote me and said, ‘Your work made me think of my father for the first time in twenty-five years. It made me very sad and happy at the same time.’
That’s not so weird. Why is that so weird?
Well I can’t imagine anything in any of my paintings that would make anyone think of their father.
I would say, you’re using all of these symbols and it’s all very Freudian and very dreamlike.
I suppose so.
The Stockade Bed and Breakfast, which is certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, is committed to sustainable practices and protecting the environment. That’s why we are a big believer in composting — a simple and effective way to be more eco-friendly!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the largest contributor to landfills in America is food waste; in 2009 alone, 34 million tons of food waste was produced. Once food waste is dumped in a landfill, it is unable to be reused for the environment.
There are numerous benefits of composting. Not only does composting prevent food waste from ending up in a landfill, but it also adds nutrients to soil, encourages healthy plant roots, saves water by helping the soil to retain moisture, reduces soil erosion, balances pH, and decreases the need for petrochemical fertilizers.
Here are some things that you can chop and use for compost. For best results, use a mixture of browns and greens to ensure a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio:
- coffee grounds and filters
- tea bags
- citrus rinds
- fruit and vegetables
- ground eggshells
- pine needles
- shredded cardboard or newspaper
Louisiana has so many awesome festivals, it’s hard to pick which ones to go to! Here are our top picks for the best upcoming LA festivals. Whether you’re looking for good food, good music, or just a good time, we’ve got you covered!
Held in the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival is an annual festival held to promote the crawfish industry in Louisiana and the culture of Cajun Country.
The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival has also been featured in documentaries by CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Food Channel, and PBS. It has been featured in Maxim Magazine, Southern Living, National Geographic, The New York Times, Country Cooking, Motorhome Living, and Better Homes and Garden publications. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was named a top 10 Food Festival by USA Today. [http://www.bbcrawfest.com/about_us.html]
Cochon de Lait – Mansura, May 10th
The Cochon de Lait Festival is held annually on the second weekend in May in Mansura, Louisiana. Mansura is the Cochon de Lait capital of the world. The festival mixes great Cajun food, good times and Louisiana music with the famous cochon de lait (French for roast suckling pig). There is plenty to see and do for an entire family to “pass a good time.” [http://www.cochondelaitfestival.com/index.html]
Greek Festival – Baton Rouge, May 11th
The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Baton Rouge wants you to join them in a celebration of Greek culture, entertainment and cuisine at the 2nd Annual Baton Rouge Greek Festival in Downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at the Town Square festival venue. Festival goers will dine on Greek food cooked by members of the Church, using authentic Greek recipes. A Greek band, “Alpha Omega Sound,” from Atlanta, GA will provide live entertainment and visitors will learn traditional Greek dances. The Holy Trinity Greek Dancers from New Orleans will also perform throughout the day. An assortment of beverages, Greek pastries, Mediterranean arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, religious icons, festival T-shirts and a festival poster will be available for purchase. [http://brgreekfest.com]
Bayou Boogaloo – New Orleans, May 17th
The 8th Annual Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival that will be held Friday May 17 – Sunday May 19, 2013 along the banks of historic and beautiful Bayou St. John. As always the Festival is a family-friendly event with a kid’s stage, along with games and activities for children. Attendees can partake in delicious food, spirits and libations, listen to great local music, and enjoy the very best art that New Orleans has to offer. [http://www.thebayouboogaloo.com]
Jambalaya Festival – Gonzales, May 23rd
The Jambalaya Festival Association, chartered in 1967, invites you to mark your calendar for the 46th annual Jambalaya festival to be held in Gonzales, Louisiana on Memorial Day Weekend, May 23 – 26, 2013. Your whole family will enjoy the vast variety of food, fun, music and activities that have made the Jambalaya Festival the can’t miss highlight of the year.
The festival features World Champion Jambalaya served daily, live music and entertainment, carnival rides, cooking contests, a variety of food and so much fun it takes four days to get it all in. [http://www.jambalayafestival.org]
NOLA Food and Wine Experience – New Orleans, May 24th
Over the past 20 years the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has raised more than $1 million for non-profit organizations right here in our community, while showcasing local food and chefs, and national and international wines. We invite you to raise a glass and be a part of the festivities as we make New Orleans a better place to live, work and play. This year in an effort to fight hunger and support culinary education, the 2013 beneficiaries will share 100% of the proceeds. Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana will receive 40% and the following will share the remaining 60%: the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s ProStart Program, Delgado Culinary Arts School, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ Culinary Program, the John Folse Culinary Institute and the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans. [http://www.nowfe.com]
Cajun Heartland State Fair – Lafayette, May 23rd – June 2nd
The 25th Annual Cajun Heartland State Fair scheduled May 23 – June 2, 2013 will provide the best in family entertainment for children of all ages. North American Midway Entertainment will have numerous super rides such as the giant Ferris wheel, Crazy Mouse and the Mega Drop! Games, free concerts and free attractions will entertain everyone. Prizes and surprises await everyone at the Cajun Heartland State Fair. [http://www.cajundome.com/chsf.aspx]