By: Andrea Mistretta
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: December 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 3, 2009
Vibrant, dazzling, impressive . . . anyone who even looks at the cover of this book will be instantly wowed by what they see and even more so when they open the covers. Andrea Mistretta, like many artists, had a wealth of talent, but her pocketbook was rather bare. She knew the poster market in New Orleans was growing and perhaps someone might be interested in her painting, "Mercredi des Cendres." It had been a labor of love and she "penciled, painted, airbrushed, mixing techniques" and added special touches to her heart's content. The surreal product was one that captured the essence of the Mardi Gras, but a young struggling illustrator "a thousand miles away" from the enchanting art world of New Orleans had little chance of succeeding.
Andrea sent a Polaroid with her friend, Karen. Perhaps she could sell the painting for her, but instead received an unexpected call from Miss Margarita Bergen, proprietress of Bergen Galleries. "Dahling, I would like to do a Mardi Gras poster with you." This unexpected turn of events would bring her fame and, au contraire, the magic of her artwork would bring New Orleans alive on her posters. The nineteen eighties were kind to both the city and Andrea Mistretta. The spirit of the city was captured in these posters, so beautifully reproduced in this book. In this book the reader gets a fascinating look into her technique and can actually see the step-by-step creation of the king and queen of the krewes. In addition to the full color posters there are reproductions of the three black and white series posters. You'll also get to see some "playful artwork," advertising posters (Miller, Heineken and Amstel), The Serigraph, and reproductions of the United States Postal Service stamps.
This is one of those rare books that will WOW you from the first page to the last. I've seldom seen a book with such liberal use of color. Each and every poster could be easily framed and hung on a wall. Andrea briefly discusses the history behind each poster. The name of the poster, the technique, size and date are included. We get a glimpse of Andrea herself and her affinity with New Orleans and her life in general. I especially enjoyed reading about her poster "Band of Angels," and the comment she made that "it was truly celestial beings that led me and allowed my spirit to ascend beyond this poster with a very special project." You'll have to read the book to get the entire story, but in the meantime, laissez le bon temps rouler . . . let the good times roll when you browse this mesmerizing book!
Quill says: This is New Orleans poster art at its best…laissez le bon temps rouler!