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Big Easy, this wasn’t — artist paints his way through New Orleans

Brooklyn Daily

One of Bay Ridge’s rising artistic talents is back.

This month, Joseph Milazzo follows up to his popular “Bar” painting series, which documented scenes from city pubs at the Three Jolly Pigeons, with a new show at the Bay Ridge bar.

“After the success of last year, I thought it would be a good idea to continue on with doing an art series around a certain topic,” said Milazzo.

So he turned his attention to New Orleans, living there for six months and documenting his Big Easy experiences in an 11-piece travel diary.

But don’t expect your clichéd Mardi Gras party scene, or weighty post-Katrina documentary.

“I wanted to get away from the typical imagery of New Orleans — the Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras-type imagery — and be be honest with anything that spoke to me,” said Milazzo.

The resulting paintings include portraits of a weathered drunk, sitting peacefully on a porch with his dachshund, an old woman watching the Mardi Gras madness, supported by a cane, a musician going to town on her tambourine.

“She was a maniac on the tambourine,” said Milazzo. “She was like a ninja spinning nunchuks. I felt I had to capture that.”

Milazzo couldn’t help but also try to capture one of the city’s most-inspiring places — the bayou — with a serene swamp scene called “Green Cathedral.”

“I’m not really a spiritual person, but it felt like an outdoor church to me,” said Milazzo. “It forced you to contemplate and reflect while there.”

Milazzo looks to channel the spirit of the city at his Aug. 6 opening night party, with jazz music over the speakers, the bar decorated in the city’s colors, and possibly one Bourbon Street exception on the menu — hurricanes.

“Crescent City Diary: First and lasting impression of life in the big easy by Joseph Milazzo” at Three Jolly Pigeons [6802 Third Ave. at 68th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-9350], Aug. 6 starting at 3 pm, with the party at 9 pm. For info, visit www.gallery48.com. The works will also be included in “The Art of Brooklyn” festival at St. Francis College [180 Remsen St. between Court and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 489-5200], Aug. 20–27. For info, visit theartofbrooklyn.com.

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