Who: Stella Duplass
Where: The nebulous zone of “Is it Mid-City? Is it Lakeview?”
Artist’s Chosen Location for Interview: Her apartment with two red chairs set behind a long table with dried paint splotches. Sitting next to a window overlooking her garden with a giant kale bush.
Q: If you had the option to paint the side of a building in New Orleans, what building would you choose and what would you paint?
A: I would choose the restaurant Seed. I’m totally into their food, and they have this great sidewall since the restaurant is on a corner. I’d love to do a garden-jungle theme with animals in it. Something very vegan friendly and also pretty.
I really personally enjoy when people have murals or paint building walls in cities. I also understand that if the business owner doesn’t want it there then that’s their choice as well, but I really appreciate it.
Although, the biggest piece I’ve done so far is four-by-four feet. No murals yet, but I think if I first did a sketch within the small-scale measurements I could apply it to the brick. Go section by section. I often go from small to big with my work. It’s funny because I started getting commissioned work after I painted a dog for a friend. I guess my paid work all started with a dog.
Q: Can you tell me a story that involves vomit?
A: Okay, let me think of my best vomit story. I’m thinking of my friend — I guess I should not say her name. This was several years ago, and it was one of those nights where we had drank and stayed out too late. I was totally fine, so I was driving us home, but she was…well, anyway. She decided that she was going to throw up in my car.
Of course my reaction was ‘No, wait, let me pull over,’ but we were on the interstate. You can’t really pull over on the interstate. The best I could do was roll down her window. So my friend tries to lean out the window, but when she barfed it just got everywhere. It sprayed back with the wind, got the whole side of my car, and it was all over the inside of my car. It was both liquid with some solid chunks, and I had fabric seats, so it was really hard to clean.
I didn’t even clean it that night. I was way too tired to deal with barf even though I knew it was going to stink worse if I left it. And we’re still friends. Great friends.
My car does still smell, though. Although, now that the dogs have been in there, it smells more like wet dog than anything else.
Q: What do you feel in a hurry to do?
A: Sailing. That is something lately that I’ve wanted to do so badly. I’ve even looked up where to take classes, and I’m going to sign up with their next session. The thing is, it’s a really ridiculous desire. I don’t have a boat, and I can’t have a boat right now. For some reason I just don’t care. I want to do it.
I don’t have sailor friends or anything. I just miss being around water. I went to school in North Carolina, and I really miss the ocean. I mean, I know that we have water here in New Orleans too, it’s just not as close by. And I like the silence that comes with water. There’s this silence in the mind. When you aren’t overly stressed. When I think of literal silence, I think of nature—although, nature isn’t silent—because it feels peaceful.
Q: If you were in charge of finding a color that currently isn’t represented, what would the color be, and what would you name that color?
A: I feel like every color is represented, but it may not have a name or be seen that much. There are so many colors that happen naturally that I appreciate so much. When I paint, I make colors more vivid than what you’d see in nature, so I love bright colors and fabrics.
I’m always copying colors and mixing colors. [Laughing]. I think a lot about color. Like skin color. The painting I’m working on right now has two faces, and the skin color is so frustrating. Sometimes it’s the tiniest amount of more pink, more yellow, more white, or anything. I’ve had to go over the painting several times because the different colors of the face won’t match. I should learn to make a big batch, but I haven’t learned that yet.
So to answer the question, I’m thinking of a bright maroon/orange combination. Similar to coral. Like a neon maroon.
Hmm…what would I call it?
Stella’s artwork can be viewed on her website www.stealladuplass.com. You can also find her contact information on her website if you are interested in commissioning her for a personalized work or to purchase one of her current pieces.