THOM BENNETT PHOTOGRAPH
In her eight years as a full-time artist, Louisiana native Rebecca Rebouché has created iconography so beloved and embraced, Anthropologie reproduces her whimsical, surreal paintings on everything from stationary to teacups.
“When I experience a scenario, I need to process it through my art,” says Rebouché, who also has licensing agreements with Roger la Borde stationary of London and Papyrus greeting cards. “The art is a language of symbols I’ve created. Even though I’ve never taught this language to anyone, the viewer can read it. It ends up being a universal language we all speak. People relate to it.”
Born in Franklin and raised in Metairie, Rebouché attended New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana Tech and worked as a graphic designer before making the leap as a full-time artist. Despite Rebouché’s academic training and experience, her work evokes the innocence and quirkiness of a folk artist. She says its emotional vulnerability often invites comparison to Frida Kahlo. By Rebouché’s own account, her allegorical paintings of the natural world are metaphors for human experience and embedded with meaning. She is especially known for her ocean imagery and her family trees, which incorporate symbols chosen specifically to represent the stories and characteristics of each family member.
“My art is not just about what is represented, but also about how it’s represented,” says Rebouché, who has a waiting list for family tree commissions.
Rebouché’s latest body of work addresses the question of how one artist draws on the work of another. Entitled “1989,” it is based on pop star Taylor Swift’s album by the same name and on indie rocker Ryan Adams’ subsequent cover version. She describes the undertaking as “a body of work that interprets song into visual compositions.” There are 13 paintings, each one inspired by one of the 13 songs on “1989.”
“Ryan Adams making the [Swift] songs in his own way was like another permutation,” says Rebouché. “So I’m taking his songs and making another permutation into a different medium. If you’re adding value and not restating something, then you are adding to the human record.”
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