JEAN-MARCEL ST. JACQUES
// Born in 1972 in Richmond, CA
// Lives and works in New Orleans, LA
Jean-Marcel St. Jacques’s wooden quilts represent a way of being with the spirits of his great-grandmother who quilted and his great-grandfather who collected junk.
He is a California-born, self-taught artist with deep Louisiana Creole roots and a couple of academic degrees in other subjects.
His first love is music, and he spent much of his life as a poet and performing artist until Hurricane Katrina hit and sent him into a silent meditation, from which he emerged as Jean-Marcel the visual artist.
St. Jacques’s great-grandmother made patchwork strip quilts and his great-grandfather was a hoodoo man who collected junk for a living.
As a visual artist, he works mainly with wood and junk. They are also a way of finding a higher purpose for the pile of debris left by Hurricane Katrina — to find beauty in the ugliness of one of this country’s worst human disasters and, on a more practical note, to save and rehab his house for him and his family.
St. Jacques has pieces in the permanent collection of the American Folk Art Museum.
Piece in the Exhibit
JEAN-MARCEL ST. JACQUES // Portal for Aponte, 2017, mixed media on French Creole double door with five weapons fabricated by Odinga Tyehimba in homage to the Abakuá/Leopard Society in collaboration with the artist, 96 x 33 x 7 inches. (courtesy of the artist; photograph by Yolanda Navas)
Several black nuns arrive at a temple named the resurrection, which was built in thirty days by Saint Matthew. He is shown to one side, converting those same women and also Saint Paulinus of Nola, of the same color as they are.