The art of Jamie Hayes captures the true spirit of New Orleans. His whimsical style and stunning colors are instantly recognizable and known the world over. Jamie’s work is collected by the famous, the infamous and his many loyal fans around the world. Did you know that Jamie is color-blind? This may be one reason Jamie uses such vibrant colors in his artwork. And the “hair” on his characters is made of small round circles that look like the circles in tests for color blindness.
A personal message from Jamie:
I was born in Greencastle, Indiana, but grew up in Graz, Austria. I was a scrimshaw artist for most of my adult life, as well as a professional musician (boy, did I want to be a rock star!), and for many years I traveled the world collecting and selling fossils and mineral specimens. I’ve lived in all kinds of exotic places like Amsterdam, Bali, Morocco, Germany, and Mexico. In the summer of 1977, on the road with my best friend Bubba, aka Mike Clanton (R.I.P.), I finally found my true home: New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, birthplace of jazz, home of the Saints & the Who Dat Nation, the greatest city in the U.S.A. and, quite possibly, the whole world.
After years of hard work (and with the help of a wonderful patron), I opened the Jamie Hayes Gallery at 903 Decatur Street in the French Quarter on January 1, 2003, a glorious day for me and my family. The gallery was an immediate smash hit. A month after we opened, we moved into a mansion on Royal Street. Mercy! God bless America! The Jamie Hayes Gallery took off like a jet or a geyser or even a volcano.
Then in August of 2005, an angry, ferocious water buffalo named Katrina stampeded through my city and in many ways changed this wonderful, magical place forever. I lost two art galleries and our home because of the flooding and hurricane. The disaster also forever changed the lives of my family and the lives of countless others as well.
The galleries and our home were gone. Over 100 emails from fans all over the country invited us to come and stay at their homes. One of those offers came from collectors Charlie and Mary in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, who said they had an “extra” home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That sounded mighty fine to us, so we (my wife Pam and son Julian) accepted their generous offer and began a new life in sunny Southern California. Believe me, it was the right choice. It’s hard to imagine such a beautiful place. But as much as California was a great place, and as wonderful as our hosts and fans were, it wasn’t Home.
In early 2007, we finally made our way back to New Orleans where my art, my heart and my family belong—how about a big fat “YEAH, YOU RIGHT!” and a “WHO DAT!”
Now we’re back with a gallery at 617 Chartres St., just a half block from St. Louis Cathedral. I hope you will come see us soon.
xo Jamie Hayes