January 26, 2015


I began his blog as an outlet after 20 years of law enforcement work began to kill me. I had broken out in hives from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I was fat and unhappy. Blogging saved me life.

My journey began as journaling about the things I loved. I was committed to becoming healthy and I had a love and passion for New Orleans passed down to me from my beloved grandmother.

Along the way, I met some of the most amazing people. SO amazing, I might add, that I still am blessed with them in my life!

Andrea Mistretta is one of those amazing people. She is passionate, gifted, compassionate and so gracious and giving. She is now heading into three decades of her Mardi Gras Poster series. 

She shared this video with me back in 2008 and I continue to include it because it is so beautiful and captures the sheer glamour of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

I caught up with Andrea as Carnival begins and am happy to share with you her latest news!


It is 2015 and we have been blessed with 30 years of Mardi Gras art from you! *I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to express my artistic joy through art and have poster/publisher distributor Cunningham Enterprises’ Devin Dedeaux and Russ Cunningham. They have run a solid business for almost 40 years in New Orleans. They treat all artists with fairness and respect as business people so that we may continue sharing our pleasures with the public to enjoy. 

What are the plans for celebrating this milestone?  * 
I will celebrate Mardi Gras Weekend in New Orleans early this year. Friday of Mardi Gras weekend, I will be in New York City at the 8th annual Fat Friday http://www.fatfriday.nyc/celebration helping to raise funds for Jazz Heritage educational programs - http://www.jazzandheritage.org/       * If I can make it to my first Chicago opening on Mardi Gras Tuesday, Feb 17th, at the Jackson Junge Gallery, I’ll be there too! See:  http://www.j2gallery.com/exhibitions/upcoming
You are acquainted with New Orleans socialite Margarita Bergen and will be on a panel/luncheon at the Royal Sonesta, what are the details? 
*I credit Margarita Bergen with discovering my Mardi Gras art in 1985. The story is in my book “Mardi Gras Parade of Posters. http://mardigrasgraphics.com/book2010.html   - Margarita flew from New Orleans to New York for my exhibit at the Society of Illustrators and to give a fabulous New Orleans style reception with live Dixieland band then flew me with her for my first trip to New Orleans the next day to sign 500 posters at her elegant famous Pontalba apartment right across CafĂ© du Monde. How magical it was! Now, I am flying to her in New Orleans this week for her RoundTable celebration. (Full circle)

The people of New Orleans, and Louisiana as a whole, are amazing and embracing. Because you have been a part of something so important to the culture, what are some of the initiatives you've been a part of? 
*I’ve been involved with fundraising efforts for St. Michael’s Special School. The New Orleans Oral School for the Deaf. Much of my support has been for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village which is right around the corner from our poster warehouse in New Orleans.
You are an amazing artist and calligrapher and have been so excited to give back to artists and communities AND share what comes naturally to you - what are some of your favorite projects? *
 I am excited about my current project regarding Pope Francis. I will give more details about its publication in a couple months. * For the first time I plan on giving painting workshops in the spring. * I’d like to be involved with children’s art programs wherever and whenever my original Mardi Gras poster exhibit is accepted to showcase. * I just curated a 35 piece Multi-Artist Exhibit ”Save Whites Pond” and will be co-curating the Train Depot Museum opening exhibit in Waldwick NJ in July 2015.
How do you prepare for projects, or become inspired to produce such vibrant beauty? In another article you spoke about the Mardi Gras series of posters being "visual jazz" - that creates such an image for the lay person, I can not imagine what the artistic mind derives from that!  
*In mind their images are derived from many memories throughout one’s life. Some images of beauty and wonder impress more that others and can be called up to memory like recalling a dream after awakening. Like shuffling the images in a deck of cards in one’s psyche. Images combine and hybrid at will in the imagination then the mood of the day brings to fruition though an organic action, the creation of image by following a call and response between the mind and hand. Whatever new, never before seen image, results are is art. 

You are such a vital activist for artists' rights. How did you become involved? 
*Artists are at an economic disadvantage because they are perceived as playing, enjoying, in a self-absorbed world. The nature of working as a visual artist may cause isolation for many. As individualists, artists work within a fragmented community that is not empowered in numbers and with knowledge,  so artists and their rights are prime to be taken advantage of. The fact is that artists are not only a very valuable part of culture and the learning experience but are also woven into the fabric of an ecosystem. The ECONOMY system. Be aware of all the art in our environments. Books, social media, architecture, merchandise and so much more. Artists from every walk are at the foundation and must have protection if they are to operate as innovators in small businesses for their livelihoods. It was important that I as a creator had to walk the talk and marched straight to The Hill in Washington DC in 2008. I continue striving to protect artists’ rights.
Where can artists learn more?http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00185
What other things have you been working on lately? ( is the hot sauce still available ) 
Call: Mardi Gras-Hot Sauce (504)945 -6500
How does New York and the East Coast celebrate Carnival and Mardi Gras? Tell us about the 'Fat Friday' benefit.
*I’m excited to experience it for the first time my self and will be happy to share pix with you after.
Here is info http://www.fatfriday.nyc/

You can experience more of Andrea Mistretta here: 


FACEBOOK: MardiGrasMistretta


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