Introducing local street artist and the mastermind behind The Troubadour’s rooftop mural, Gabriel Flores. Gabe has brought our rooftop bar, the Monkey Board to life with gigantic color splashes paired with our New Orleans city views. A little about Gabe:
Photos by: Brandt Vicknair
“I am a local New Orleanian, and I’ve been painting in the streets since the late 90s. I’ve always been drawn to public art because it’s accessible to everyone, and as I mature in my artistic career, I’ve transitioned to gallery work and private commissions. I recently curated an exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art entitled “Top Mob: A History of New Orleans Graffiti.” It was a retrospective that paid homage to the graffiti writers who influenced me, and outlined the history of graffiti in New Orleans. My creative agency, New Orleans Paint and Design, was born to help put clients in touch with local artists to sustain a healthy cultural economy around the mural arts.”
Where was your first street art installation?
My first installation was in 1999 at the State Palace Theater on Canal Street. Myself and three others were commissioned by Rob Brunet (owner of Prytania Theater) and Disco Donny (FreeBass Society) to paint the interior of the second floor.
With each installation, do you pre-visualize your inspiration, or do you dive in and let your ideas free flow? Walk us through your creative process.
Generally when it’s left up to me I like to dive in and work spontaneously. But for commissions I work with the clients’ ideas or reference to give them some input and ownership of the concept. In this case I submitted several treatment sketches and had them bounced around by a few decision makers until they decided on a look that they liked.
Part of your installation was created in the evening at The Troubadour. Is there a specific time of day you feel you work best in? What does your usual day look like when working on a project?
I like to work day or night, but mostly I like to work alone. I prefer to get immersed in the work without distraction, but I have done a lot of live painting in the past few years, so I’ve grown accustomed to painting for an audience.
Aside from the riveting art and energy in New Orleans, what do you love most about this city?
I’ve been to a lot of major cities, but I don’t feel the deep connection and resonance to a unique culture and rich history like we have here. New Orleans feels like a big family. If you stay long enough you’ll start to feel related to your neighbors. Down here people feel like they’re realer because they don’t try and hide how they feel. You can’t imitate something this genuine.