Wheatpasting in New Orleans

Being down in New Orleans for Feb-early March, I also had the unique opportunity to do a collaborative installation with Molly Crabapple. We wanted to find local spaces that would be interested in allowing us to do wheat pastes onto their buildings, with her focus on illustrating local performers. The whole project would be a celebration of New Orleans culture. We received permission from Nicky da B and Katey Red, two legendary rappers in NOLA, to use their likenesses.

We ended up wheat pasting onto the Allways Lounge, located on St. Claude and Marigny Sts at the Bywater/Marigny border. The Allways Lounge is a gorgeous, cabaret-style venue that features amazing burlesque acts, live bands and has been a strong supporter of the weird and wonderful performers in NOLA.

On one windy evening just after Mardi Gras, friend and talented local artist Reina, and I went and put up a number of prints. The following were taken by the wonderful photographer Melisa Cardona:

Always Art_HR (3 of 92) Always Art_HR (5 of 92) Always Art_HR (7 of 92) Always Art_HR (8 of 92) Always Art_HR (10 of 92) Always Art_HR (13 of 92)

We had the images printed up at a local copy shop, then proceeded to cut out each image by hand, keeping the outlines fairly loose to match Molly’s style.

Always Art_HR (15 of 92)

It was very windy that evening, so putting each image up was a two person job. I hand made the wheat paste using this recipe, adding sugar in hopes that the increased stickiness would help us as we battled the wind.

Always Art_HR (30 of 92)

We laid down an initial coating of the paste on the bare wall (making sure to mush out any lumps that didn’t get fully dissolved while cooking the paste), placed the paper on top, then proceeded to coat the entire piece of paper on top with a thin layer of more paste. Since our image was printed in toner, we didn’t have to worry too much about smearing or the lines bleeding. Use caution if your piece is handmade without water resistant inks.

Always Art_HR (40 of 92) Always Art_HR (47 of 92)

Once we’d got a decent amount of paste on, and especially since we were pasting onto an uneven surface, I went over the whole thing using the side of a plastic card (an old credit card or gift card works). It helped adhere the print to the wall and also helped spread the paste so it would dry quickly and with a smooth finish.

Always Art_HR (49 of 92) Always Art_HR (50 of 92) Always Art_HR (53 of 92) Always Art_HR (61 of 92) Always Art_HR (69 of 92) Always Art_HR (70 of 92)

All done! The whole process took us only a few hours. Come morning, Melisa came back around & took photos of the whole building in the light (and thankfully no one had come and painted over our images yet!)

Always Art_HR (73 of 92) Always Art_HR (84 of 92) Always Art_HR (87 of 92) Always Art_HR (88 of 92) Always Art_HR (91 of 92)

 

And the original images:

nicky

Rapper, Nicky Da B

katyred

Rapper, Katey Red

Babydoll

Inspired by New Orleans Baby Doll Ladies

dancer-right

Bounce Dancer

Leave a Reply