Beyond the stellar line-up of performances, this year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest saw the convergence of two great talents working in unison to record the magic of the music on canvas. Legendary performance painter and New Orleans mainstay Frenchy worked side-by-side with Colorado by-way-of-Orlando artist Keith “Scramble” Campbell. These two artists share a similar style, which stirs rumors of bitter rivalry in art circles, but it is quite the contrary. Frenchy and Scramble are long-time colleagues and friends and they worked in concert throughout the entire festival to collectively produce nearly 50 paintings that captured the vibe of the festivities.
Frenchy has painted and attended Jazz Fest since 1988, and in 2010 had his first opportunity to actually work on stage and add to the overall performance of Trombone Shorty and another native Nawlins band, The Radiators. Among many others, Frenchy was able to paint jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and rock titans Pearl Jam. You can see all the Jazz fest collection from Frenchy at his Oak Street gallery or online at the Frenchylive Website
Scramble Campbell was also painting at an astonishing rate for the duration of the festival. Inspiration seemed to be in abundance as the two artists produced a prolific run of paintings. Throughout the festival, Scramble displayed his artwork at Frenchy’s New Orleans gallery. Scramble’s works from the festival can be seen and purchased on his website.
In the impromptu spirit of jazz, legendary Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann popped his head in Frenchy’s Oak Street gallery to say hello to his close friend. Before he left, the casual visit evolved into a collaboration with Frenchy and Scramble to seize the essence of the festival on canvas. Together they danced and grooved to the Dead’s 1973 classic “Eyes of the World,” all while dousing and splaying paint in a stream-of- conscious frenzy of inspiration and improvisation. Like jazz masters, Frenchy and Scramble weave their visual notes of shape and color in and out of each other while Kreutzman adds rhythm and texture with his paint soaked mallets. This was a stunning confluence of thought, expression, talent, creativity, and chance, which sums up this storied city and whimsical event.
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