With museums, shops and galleries closed, one New Orleans artist is making use of a unique canvas to reach a stir-crazy audience.
Where some see boarded up buildings, pop artist Joshua Wingerter sees windows of opportunity.
“Everybody’s liking this? I’m like, cool, I’m going to do this as much as I can because I love this," he laughed.
Wingerter is spray painting his way through the plywood covering businesses in the French Quarter, sometimes attracting an audience from people walking or biking by.
“It’s so awesome to see it live in action, you know?” said one woman, who had gone for a walk Tuesday afternoon.
Denise Laborde, out for a bike ride, stopped to take some photos.
“I mean I stopped in my tracks - literally," Laborde said. "It just really brings a lot of life and a lot of love to the music."
Another woman who stopped her bike said she's in New Orleans for the first time. She stopped on Royal Street to watch Wingerter put finishing touches on a portrait of Tank of Tank and the Bangas.
“I’m not from around here, I’m a travel nurse, actually. So it’s nice to get a little piece of what the people are like," she said.
Joshua Wingerter's Coronavirus-era project started at Who Dat Coffee Cafe, and then noticed another street in need of some color.
"I drove down Frenchmen, just because it's something I always do, and I saw everything boarded up," he said. "And that was a very different Frenchmen than I was used to."
For three days, he painted pieces on the 600 block of Frenchmen Street, where he started his career years ago.
Now, you can enjoy a "drive-through art gallery" he created without ever leaving your car or bike.
“I just felt like I wanted to get in there and change the atmosphere… and get it back to like a comfort zone. Not only for me, but for anybody that’s walking home or taking a bike ride, or driving through," Wingerter said.
You'll find a portrait of Cam Jordan, a socially-distant Mona Lisa, some toilet paper, a few face masks and some pieces that inspire love in a difficult time.
“I like Louis Armstrong, I like Mister Rodgers," said Stahili Glover, who stopped his bike to take photos.
He says the artwork brings some life back to the street.
“This is New Orleans. You’re not used to seeing… quiet," Glover said. "Usually there's a brass band playing right here, right on this corner."
His graffiti has been welcomed – even requested – by owners of bars and shops shut down by coronavirus for five weeks and counting.
With no telling how long our city will stay braced for an invisible storm, this hometown artist says he’ll keep transforming the canvases it provides.
“I’m just going to go out there and just do as many boards as I can until they send me home," he said.
Wingerter posts his most recent work on Instagram.
You can also get more information on his website.
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