NEW ORLEANS— On a stretch of Frenchman St is an artwork in progress depicting both a sign of the times and some social commentary.
The artist is 9th ward born and bred Lionel Milton. The principal figures in the mural are familiar to fans of Milton’s work.
“It’s unbelievable, you know, I used to draw this stuff on my sketchpad with us masked up, thinking I would never be able to put that on the forefront. So here we are talking about social distancing and social justice and yet I’m able to do my same characters with their masks on because that’s the age we’re living in right now,” explained Milton.
The Maison’s proprietor, Jeff Bromberger has a long history with the artist and wand to do something with the shuttered space out front.
Bromberger said, “I came up with the idea. Let’s use the places on Maison and The Dragon’s Den and we’ve boarded up the windows. Let’s create this art, and at some point when we do have a take-down party sell it, and donate the proceeds to Ya Ya and Iggy’s House.”
Over the years Milton’s work has been used by some of the biggest brands in America. Most times, it’s distinguished by fun, colorful images, but the srtart of this piece has an ironic darker tone.
Milton says, “It’s hard for us to go outside because we have to wear a mask to protect ourselves from ‘C9’ or unknown diseases but sometimes we don’t have a mask on, and we’ve still gotta be protected because someone thinks we need to identify ourselves. When you get to a point where people what to self-deputize and that jeopardizes your life, that’s not safe.”
Lionel Milton’s mural will be finished next week and can be viewed outside The Maison, 508 Frenchman St.