Gallery 600 Julia features talented Louisiana artists in curated monthly shows in the front room. With a superior and varied selection of artistic style and technique, the gallery always has an impressive and changing inventory of fine paintings. Art Walk is hosted by all the galleries in the Arts District in the evening on the first Saturday of each month, usually 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
ART WALK SCHEDULE 2017: JAN 7: Carol Scott, POP ROCKS FEB 4: Mardi Gras Group Show, BEADazzled MAR 4: David Lloyd, New Work APR 1: Derenda Keating, Riffs in Paint MAY 6: Jammin’ on Julia Mickey Ache, Louisiana Heartbeat JUN 3: Ronnie Collins, Lowland Louisiana JULY 1 William Crowell, Freeze Frame AUG 5: White Linen Night Will Smith, White Linen Night on Bayou Black SEPT 2: Michelle Conques, Sweet Louisiana OCT 7: Art for Arts’ Sake Linda Lesperance, Illuminations, New Orleans in the Night NOV 4: Charles Smith DEC 2: Thomas Lofton
AUGUST 5, 2017 : Will Smith, Jr. , White Linen Night on Bayou Black
THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT: Natchez native to be featured at New Orleans White Linen Art Event Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 16, 2017 By Lyndy BerryHill
NATCHEZ — Every year, tourists and locals flock to New Orleans for arguably the largest art show in the South. Whitney White Linen Night attracts around a tens of thousand alabaster-clad enthusiasts to the Arts District for live music, food and the best artists the Crescent City has to offer next month on August 5. This year, Natchez native Will Smith Jr. will be presenting a solo show at Gallery 600 Julia, in the heart of the party on Julia Street. “It’s a terrific honor for me,” Smith said.
Although he has been painting for exhibitions for years in New Orleans, his artist’s roots and knack for portraiture began in Natchez as early as he can remember. When he was 3 years old, he colored a mural of people dancing in purple crayon next to his bed, but his artwork was erased before his mother came home. “To me, it was this big beautiful mural next to my bed,” Smith said. Smith no longer uses his bedroom wall as a canvas, but his career as an artist was forged with violet wax. Smith’s art should be recognizable to many in Natchez; he has produced art for the Natchez Balloon Festival. But he was always drawn to capture life down the river. “Growing up in Natchez we would come to New Orleans all the time,” Smith said. The family would drive down Interstate 55 and pass by small colonies of houses on stilts. (I noticed) these communities of homes with nothing but water everywhere, it was mind blowing as a kid.”
After Smith had received his Master’s Degree in art therapy from Notre Dame de Namur, he studied why people find art appealing. He learned how to soothe his audience with calming water scenes. Smith has spent at least a year preparing for this show, each oil on canvas painting taking two to three months to complete. He wanted to document the fragile way of life in coastal Louisiana, where the land dissipates into soggy marshes. Smith took swamp tours of the Atchafalaya River basin, Bayou Black and Bayou Terrebonne, and took around 1,000 photos. He narrowed down the best scenes. The resulting 15 paintings make up “White Linen Night on Bayou Black,” which opens at 5:30 p.m. on August 5. Smith said he tediously detailed daily life in the swamp to achieve a “poem meets police report” style. “I’m trying to be as accurate as possible.” After he saw the damage Hurricane Katrina wreaked on the coasts, Smith said the impact lit the fire for him to document, visit and explore more of the swamps. “It’s beautiful but fragile,” Smith said.
Smith’s attention to detail and documentary photorealism is what impressed Gallery 600 Julia’s owner, Susan Saward, from the beginning. “I love working with her,” Smith said. “It’s been a terrific working relationship. ”For Saward, the feeling is mutual. “I have given a number of solo shows to Will,” Saward said. “He has a tremendous talent.” When Smith, who lived two blocks away from the gallery, strolled in, Saward says Smith’s artwork stuck her with authentic representation and detail. “No one else was doing the vanishing ecological systems along the bayou,” Saward said. “It was a logical progression to recognize the timelines as well as the talent and expertise of his art.”
SAMPLE OUT SMALL PLATES! THE FOOD COURT Miniature Paintings of New Orleans Favorite Food and Dining Experiences ….no painting larger than 8 x 8 inches!