You know those days when the setting, the mood, the weather, the cocktails, everything is just perfect? That’s pretty much what happened when Patricia Alexander and I stopped in artist Hayley Gaberlavage’s studio for a tour and to talk about her participation in the upcoming Magic in Melpomenia benefit. Hayley’s home studio is a light filled sanctuary with a balcony to die for overlooking historic Magazine Street here in New Orleans. We sat down over mimosas to discuss Hayley’s body of work, her love of New Orleans, and her excitement over the work Felicity Redevelopment, Inc. is doing to revitalize the Lower St. Charles Corridor. In an effort to fund this redevelopment the organization is holding a benefit this Thursday May 8th complete with an art auction, to which Hayley is donating a piece from her collection (pictured below). During our tour we discovered that in addition to being a talented painter, Hayley is a master flower crown craftsman as well. As champagne hour wore on our visit turned into the type of leisurely art-filled afternoon we New Orleanians know can happen when you least expect it. Just like many of Hayley’s paintings, it was a moment of sunkissed bliss.
Check out Hayley’s interview with Patricia, who is a committee member for this year’s Magic in Melpomenia benefit below and be sure to get your tickets to the benefit this Thursday! Tickets start at just $50 and it’s for an amazing cause! Find out more here: http://bit.ly/1sdNdHo
When did you first realize you wanted to become a full time artist?
I always knew I was an artist. I got an interior design degree but it wasn’t until I started working in that field that I realized I’d rather be painting. I have been a full time artist since 2002.
Your palette is very distinct, what inspires it?
I use a lot of mint greens, blues and pinks. Living in a colorful city such as New Orleans has a lot of influence on my palette. It’s bright, tropical and lush. I pick up on it. I want people to be happy when they look at my paintings.
You describe your aesthetic as a retro. What draws you to the past and what compels you to contemporize it for today’s audience?
The past is nostalgic for everyone. I love taking an old photo and painting it with a present day twist. My portraits always remind the audience of someone they know or once knew.
How did you end up in New Orleans?
I was living in New York Cityand missed living in the south. I’m a true southern girl at heart.
What is your favorite spot in New Orleans and why?
At the moment, my favorite spot in New Orleans is Cane & Table. I feel like I’ve traveled back in time a hundred and fifty years. It’s quintessential New Orleans. The patio will make you feel like you’re in Europe. But that’s one of the reasons I love New Orleans. There are a thousand places that will transport you to a city in Europe. It’s extremely romantic.
I cannot thank you enough for donating one of your pieces to the Magic in Melpomenia IX fundraiser on May 8th. As you know the goal of Felicity Redevelopment, Inc. is the revitalization of the lower St. Charles Avenue, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Calliope Street, and Jackson Avenue. Once a vital part of New Orleans life, the area contains splendid residential and commercial buildings that are waiting to be reclaimed and provide housing and commercial space for the re-population of the neighborhood. What specifically attracted you to this project?
What attracted me to this project is my love for the Lower Garden District. I’ve lived in this area the entire 5 years that I’ve lived in NOLA. My husband and I just bought a house to renovate on Jackson Avenue as well. Any way I can contribute to the revitalization of my neighborhood, I will do it. I love architecture and I love seeing buildings and houses preserved to it’s original.