Celebrating and remembering are the heart of New Orleans’ culture. Our unique gift to the future is delivering and renewing our past. This year’s Congo Square proves that reclamation is its own reward. The immortal Matthew “Fats” Houston, the most iconic grand marshal ever to strut a New Orleans street, graced the 1976 Jazz Fest poster and while this marvelous retake celebrates the 35th anniversary of that glorious slice of time and place, it also lovingly memorializes the great man’s passing. Jazz’s evanescence defied personification until Fats Houston fronted the Eureka, Olympia and Young Tuxedo Brass Bands, crafting the definitive grand marshal persona out of found objects turned into sashes and a strutting gait that defied duplication as it defined dignity. If you were lucky enough to have witnessed Fats elevate the prosaic (for in his day, parades literally formed at the drop of a hat) to the sublime, you experienced the zenith of New Orleans’ cultural humanism.
Kenneth Scott, Jr. came into the world just as Fats was exiting. Yet despite never having second-lined with the man himself, Scott captures the majesty of his subject in an enduring work. Scott grew up in New Orleans’ 9th ward and leveraged his precocious art talents to move beyond its constraints. Like Terrence Osborne (Congo ’07 & ’10) before him, Scott benefited from the tutelage of New Orleans’ great art educator, Richard Thomas (JF ’89, Congo ’06). He earned his B.F.A. in painting and drawing from LSU, Baton Rouge, with a concentration in studio art. Continuing the virtuous cycle primed by Thomas, he became an art instructor in New Orleans’ acclaimed Young Audiences program as he developed his career as a professional artist. Discovering Scott’s neo-Pop artwork displayed at Jazz Fest’s Congo Square Marketplace reawakened the poster publisher’s long-held desire to return to classic poster imaging and do a “remix” of a cherished subject. The work Scott produced is a reflection of Fats’ transcendent grace and a tribute to the artist’s intuitive talent.
5,000 Numbered prints on archival paper, 20” x 38”
1,000 Artist-signed & numbered prints on 100% rag paper, 21” x 39”
500 Artist-signed, hand remarqued & numbered prints on 100% rag paper, 21” x 40”
100 Artist-overpainted, signed & numbered canvas screen prints, suitable for stretching, 26” x 40”
Congo Square is part of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. It is a living celebration of the African-Caribbean culture at the root of much of America’s art and music.
Poster originally sold for $72.50 (unsigned), $239 (signed), $329 (ReMarque), $595 (C-Marque)