Artist, designer and long-time DART subscriber Jeanne Verdoux has a multi-pronged art practice that continues to expand. Widely known for her ink drawings of people on the subway, inscribed onto New Yorker magazine subscription cards, she also makes photography a medium for her narrative art. [info]
Earlier this year, the Paris-born Verdoux created a mural for a French restaurant, LES Enfants de Bohème, located on the fringes of the Lower East Side arts district. The restaurant, entirely designed and built by owner Stéfan Jonot, who runs it with his wife, editor/curator Cathy Lang Ho, is a place to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In summer, it extends its seating to the sidewalk as part of the DOT's Street Seats program. On a recent Friday, the bar became a party as neighborhood regulars stopped in after work to catch up.
Its inviting interior also extends outward through the mural, rendered in black and white and lighted in a way that makes it visible from a distance. The idea for the art came through a collaboration between owners and artist. All had an attachment to the romantic novel Marius, by Marcel Pagnol ("every French person knows this story," said Jonot). Jeanne mined her sketchbooks for characters and still-lifes, and after some back-and-forth, the wall came together as an expression of an intimate dialogue in an evocative place.
Jeanne had never worked at this scale so she enlisted her husband, illustrator John Gibson, who, through his training as an architect, easily moves between page-size and wall-size. Together they transformed the lively sketch style of the original ink drawings into a larger-than-life-size narrative, rendered in black paint. Above, left to right: Stéfan Jonot, John Gibson, Jeanne Verdoux painting the mural.