New Orleans artist Crystal Obeidzinski finds joy in creating paintings inspired by her beloved hometown. See more by visiting her website.
The small town life has never sat well with me, especially being the youngest of four children who were all raised in the country. I have always had a passion to dress up for everything. Mardi Gras, my birthday, you name it—I celebrated it!
While everyone in my family is creative—from music to woodworking to sewing—not one of them ever made a living at it. I knew at a young age I would be an artist and at the age of seven, my father took me down to New Orleans to get a part for his truck. It was then and there that I fell in love with the city.
Fast forward to my senior year in college. I graduated with my BA from LSU and moved down to the city which had captured my attention and my heart. I began working at a “real job” while successfully selling my paintings as a “side hustle.”
It wasn’t long before I got the courage, with my father’s encouragement, to quit my job and be an artist full-time. In addition to my art, I took to traveling—a lot. I began traveling the US, then expanded my adventures to the Caribbean and beyond! With each adventure came new perspectives, inspirations, and fuel for my art. But at the end of every trip, I was glad to come back home to New Orleans.
New Orleans has a complex gumbo pot of history. It’s notorious for welcoming anyone and everyone. Misfits, writers, artists and countless musicians bring culture, history and love to New Orleans.
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Here, my passion cup is always full. From where I live, to what I paint, to how I spend my days, living in New Orleans may be what drives almost every decision I make.
The authenticity and uniqueness that is New Orleans is unrivaled. It makes sense that using a standard canvas doesn’t speak to me. Finding a door, discarded on the side of the road, from a renovation that has several layers of paint flaking off, three holes from the locks, and old hinges on it are all what ignites my passion! I literally take trash off of the street.
By using recycled mediums as well as recycled paint, magazines and newspapers, I’m not only saving this piece of history from the trash, but I’m giving it a second life. I am reducing our overall footprint in this world while creating pieces that continue the culture and traditions of the city I love so much.
My subject matter ties into every painting I create. By putting the actual homes from where my reclaimed wood comes, I’m continuing the story of that home for hopefully another hundred years. I also paint scenes of nature including magnolias, oaks—really any scene from where wood originally comes, you know?
Even in those early years in that cookie cutter town, I always knew I wanted more. When I quit my job to become an artist full time, I was terrified. Much like dads everywhere, my father said a very practical thing to me. “Give yourself six months, and if it doesn’t work out you can always get another job.”
That was over a decade ago.
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