2006 New Orleans


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Rockin' to New Orleans
by James Michalopoulos

Fats Domino

2006 Jazz Festival Poster

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If there's a living, breathing symbol of all that makes New Orleans great and unique, it's Antoine "Fats" Domino. His debut million-selling 1949 single, "The Fat Man" (from which he gained his nickname) is considered by many to be the first rock & roll record ever recorded. That alone would have earned the then 21 year-old a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But it was the beginning of his partnership with New Orleans trumpeter / producer / collaborator / bandleader Dave Bartholomew that made Fats the second largest-selling rock & roll star of the 50's and early-60's, behind only Elvis. He had an amazing 35 Top-40 singles from 1955 through 1963, on his way to selling more than 65 million records. His instantly recognized classics include "Ain't That a Shame", "Blueberry Hill", "Walking to New Orleans", "Whole Lotta Loving", "I'm Walking", "Blue Monday" and "I'm In Love Again", among others. Fats' boogie-woogie piano playing and down-home vocals were nurtured by the music surrounding him in New Orleans that contained elements of rock & roll long before Fats pulled them all together. His influence is such that Lennon/McCartney wrote Lady Madonna as an homage to his piano style; Fats returned the favor by covering it in 1968, and it became a Top 40 hit. Fats has remained true to his roots and his style, changing neither since he broke onto the scene 57 years ago.

By the 1980's Fats stopped touring because he couldn't find any food he liked outside New Orleans. (Who could disagree?) He didn't even attend his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or play at the invitation of the White House. Fortunately, he plays the Jazz Fest every few years and 2006 is one of those blessed cycles. His originality, musicianship, showmanship, power and vigor have not diminished. He changed the nature of music by bringing New Orleans-style R&B to the world and is himself a force of nature proving that Katrina can't change the soul of the City.

Collectors of this poster series know the name Michalopoulos very well. Acclaimed as the premier artist of and in New Orleans, his studies of the architecture and people that make the City unique are remarkable for their technical prowess and for their emotional verity. His iconic Jazz Fest series has defined legends in compelling works of definitive visual mastery. His 1998 portrait of Dr. John is a recognized classic and his 2001 portrait of Louis Armstrong remains the most sought-after (and valuable) print produced in this series in over a decade. Michalopoulos' portrait of Fats will be equally embraced. With a richly-colored sampling of the graceful buildings that line the old city drawing the viewer's eye towards an improbably balanced Fats pounding and tickling his piano into submission, this work sums up the man, his city, its music and their place in our hearts. A classic subject, masterfully executed by one of America's great figurative artists (with a twist, of course). This first Jazz Fest poster since water topped the levees is a "get-it or forget-it" offering. Run, don't walk to New Orleans and grab this one or it'll be Blue Monday for you.

The work is being published in several edtions:

10,000 Numbered 20" x 36"
3,000 Artist-signed & numbered 21" x 38"
750 Remarque, pencil drawing, numbered and signed by both Michalopoulos & Fats Domino 22" x 40"
300 Canvas Remarques, overpainted, numbered and signed
by both Michalopoulos & Fats Domino (unstretched) 26" x 40"

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