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Heather Mattingly

Mixed Media / New Orleans, La

Artist Statement

Through art, I try to capture the vibrancy of Louisiana life and culture and to elicit joy and appreciation in the viewer for the inherent beauty of our distinctive elements and surroundings.

Biography

Although I was born in Arizona, my family returned to my father's place of birth, New Orleans, when I was 5 years old. Since my childhood, I have been strongly drawn to Louisiana's natural surroundings. I am fascinated by our beautiful wildlife and Great Oak trees. The swamp is a magical and mysterious place to me, with growth and decay intertwined.
Growing up in New Orleans I had many opportunities to watch the Mardi Gras Indians parading. I was captivated by their colorful and elaborate handmade suits, and by the street performances of singing out, chanting, and dancing out their tribal themes. As an adult I developed a much deeper respect for the historical aspects of the culture of the Mardi Gras Indians and their efforts to pay respects both to African and Native American influences.

As a young adult I was drawn to working with my hands, especially with wood. I became an apprentice to a custom cabinet and furniture maker prior to hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane, I worked as a carpenter and assisted in the massive rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts. I developed a greater appreciation of the craftsmanship of our local architecture, whether in the intricate ironwork or the details of the wood adornments. New Orleans' buildings showcase history, art, and culture all at once. Besides the architecture, I am also attracted to the ways that colorful paint is used an many homes, which makes each house become it's own unique dwelling.
I began painting artistically in 2017 to express my love for all of the different features that make Louisiana wonderful, our diverse cultures, traditions, nature, food, people, and music.