Practically one of the first people I met when providence brought me back to the Big Easy a few years ago was Jon Guillaume. I imagine a fish must feel a lot like I did that day when he sees that tempting bait dangled in front of him. While strolling through the French Market on a perfect spring day I spotted this fabulous framed black and white of a shrimp boat from way across the Market. Hook, line and sinker, he reeled me in right then and there. I’ll be a fan for life.
Now my Paw-Paw was a shrimper, a fisherman from way back. My Mom actually lived the first several years of her life on a houseboat. Nostalgia could have been what piqued my interest in the beginning, but the closer I got the more enamored I became. The drawing was absolutely stunning in its simplicity. Then I noticed the exquisite, meticulous detail. Jon’s work is done almost solely in pencil, color pencil, pilot pen and black marker. It is phenomenal. The frame, I later learned was made by a friend of his from old re-claimed lumber from the New Orleans area. Jon’s version of the New Orleans Watermeter is also one of my many favorites.
Jon’s personal story is better than any fishing story I ever heard. I can vouch for this one, it is actually true. With a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from LSU, Jon started commuting to the French Market on weekends to sell his art. He could only make the trek on weekends because he was working another job during the week. It wasn’t long before his haul from the Market was bigger than his weekly paycheck. Now he gets to live in New Orleans and pursue his career as an artist full-time.
You can find Jon and his distinctive work in the French Market most Fridays through Mondays. Some of the galleries like Gallery 713 on Royal Street also showcase his work. You can also visit Jon’s website at www.bigezartist.com
By Sharon Denise Talbot
*Update: Jon and his awesome artwork will be at the 2010 Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, LA. April 21st thru 25th.