A Toussaint Tribute

How upsetting to learn that one of the musical greats, Allen Toussaint passed away suddenly on November 10th. He was stricken with a heart attack just hours after performing in Madrid with his son. He was 77 years young.

I’ve been wanting to see him live in concert for years. I love his music, especially the song, Yes We Can from the album Our New Orleans recorded with other iconic New Orleans musicians such as Irma Thomas, as a benefit album for the Gulf Coast. This CD got me through some rough, surreal days after Katrina.

Here’s Allen Toussaint performing Yes We Can with Dr. John at Tulane’s Commencement.

Deacon John Moore and Irma Thomas reflects on their memories of Toussaint.

There are so many songs you may know that you never knew were written by Allen Toussaint like: Southern Nights made famous by Glen Campbell , Working on a Coal Mine (even Devo did a cover of this), Sneaking Sally through the Alley and Lady Marmalade made famous by Patty LaBelle as her signature song. He played piano on Mother-in-Law earlier in his career with Ernie K-Doe. His song Whipped Cream was made famous by Al Hirt and Herb Albert and their trumpets (and later became known more wildly as the song for the popular Dating Game). He produced Dr. John’s breakout album Right Place, Wrong Time (1973). Many of his other songs were recorded by the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon among others.

Allen Toussaint on Art is EverywhereAccording to his obit in the Washington Post, he began playing the piano at age 6 and played everyday in the style of Professor Longhair, who was a major influence.

After being born and living all his life in New Orleans, he was forced from his home for the first time during Katrina in 2005. He didn’t make it back until 2013.

Enjoy the official Toussaint website for some Toussaint Tribute and wonderful jazz music to just play in the background. The site hasn’t posted any updated news yet, probably because his death was so unexpected.

Allen Toussaint on Art is EverywhereEnjoy a little more…from this great musician who will be sadly missed. Fortunately, he’s left us so many songs to happily play.

The Marriage of Two Posts for Gulf Coast Aid

This is where two posts meet. I could have easily found a quick mention for Friday and included my weekly Kick Start your Weekend music but I’m dealing with a conundrum and in also trying to find something to write for my other weekly blog post, Slipcovers for your Walls, I realized as I was searching for this one, that in thinking through this creative process, I found the answer to both. I’ve already posted this on the casartblog but here it is with more thought process.

I keep  list of topics to write on and my favorite always comes back to the creative process. It is how artwork begins and how it evolves. There are hoards of information on this topic but I always find inspiration in unlikely places: from the creative innovation of the Old Spice commercials that I just blogged on; to research for finding visual inspiration; to explanations regarding how to give good critical analysis; to the visual humor describing the interactions between artist and client (I’ve had some of these types of moments); to some brilliance and clarity in a web enthusiast’s and an electrical-engineer graduate’s take on The Art of Design and Creative Thinking, just among many. I believe the analytical process of design is similar if not the same as creating artwork. Artwork may not always have function whereas design might. If you click my Design category (on the right), you’ll see plenty of examples that involve art. Richie Thimmaiah of Richworks above states, “Design is Everywhere.” Well, I can’t help but agree and also in that Art is Everywhere.

Here’s my conundrum (not only trying to figure out what to write) but the value — the artistic merit and importance of some latest designs / artwork that I’m working on for Casart coverings. We posted a while ago on the Slipcovers for your Walls blog about our efforts to help the Gulf Coast recovery. It’s an issue that is very personal to me and I’m passionate about wanting to do something.  As Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, states so truthfully in his editorial, this area needs some help. It’s still reeling from Katrina and now this?!

As an artist, I think about art to help in the response, so I have created a Gulf Coast Mural and designs where proceeds will go to two selected organizations that are at the forefront, helping in this effort. I helped this way for Katrina and other artists that I have posted on, have done the same. But what do you do when you start to question whether or not it makes sense to do. Will people like it? How will they use it? Will they purchase it? Will they even understand it? I have some valid answers that I think apply to all of these but I know I am too close to decide.

There are some valid points from the links above to consider and some quotes I’ll pull:

I like to say, to find inspiration, one should take a look around. What is surrounding you?” — Rebecca Reilering (Research to Feed Your Visual Mind)

“...destroying your designer’s artistic confidence by tearing down a design without acknowledging any positive points, is usually not good policy…One reality that I feel escapes many clients who hire graphic designers is that while this is a form of commercial art, the process is still art. The creative process is still emotional, inspirational and can be very personal, so it’s important to acknowledge…” — Fuschia Mac

” I’ve looped my mother in the conversation…she has a good eye for design….The design you put together needs some brighter colors…perhaps a little pink? Throw in a kitten or two. Everybody loves kittens!…All hope is lost…You are no longer a [web] designer.”Oatmeal (How a Web Design Goes to Hell)

“Success without taking risks is impossible. Mistakes are a part and parcel in the process of achieving extraordinary results. A good designer is not taken apart by such mistakes, rather he learns from itSome people embrace it and others don’t. If you want to to survive in a world which is changing rapidly as we speak, I suggest you listen closely to the former kind and try your best avoiding the latter.”Richworks (The Art of Design/Creative Thinking)

And a quote he pulled for his blog that I found really thought provoking:

“Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits the target no one else can see” — Arthur Shoepenhauer

OK, so now I know why some artists, myself included at times, feel a little crazy and that part may explain the stereotype. Can you have talent and genius together? I would say yes, I hope so.

Here’s a glimpse at the latest work. I’ve posted a blog poll to get feedback and of course you can always comment with more specifics but I’d like to know your thoughts. The concept here is to offer an interactive mural — a way for the customer to design their own mural (from these already painted creations). This is an example. The hard part is how to explain this on a website where we don’t have the technology to create something with code to drop and drag in the images. I wish we did.


This mural can be created in any configuration with these separate panels

Here’s an example of one of the individual panels with wording. They will also be offered without wording in a white or water background.


Casart Pelican for Gulf Coast recovery

Since you can’t bring your wall artwork with you to show others in public, what about wearing your mural, or parts of it? I came up with a new Crawfish Cotillion design made with the crawfish that I painted. So, I thought, why not make it into a weekender or beach bag that you can hopefully use on the Gulf Coast beaches? Here are some preliminary designs for this concept, showing two ways to offer the crawfish design + we’ll have this in many colors. Cross over the the Casartblog to vote on your favorite patterns, after you vote here.


Weekender Bag concept with Crawfish Cotillion Design

Casart-coverings_BagConcept1_blog, ArtisEverywhere

Casart coverings Beach bag concept with a mural element

Many thanks for your input and in keeping with tradition, here’s some appropriate music to Kick Start your Weekend, and one of my very favorites for New Orleans’ music, “Yes We Can” by Allen Toussaint, accompanied by Elvis Costello: