Heidi Young Batson still misses New Orleans. It’s where she lived and worked for over twenty years. “I think I’m still decompressing from living there,” Heidi says, relaxing at her kitchen table as classic Motown plays softly in the background. Her cat Marvin Gaye licks a furry paw while lounging in a nearby chair. “I’ve just not quite recuperated,” Heidi continues, “so I put it into my art or photos or fine works that express it. That’s where the collage work comes in.”
After working in the New Orleans art district, Heidi began to experiment with photography. She reveled in the French Quarter art experience as a novice, until the sale of her photo of artist George Dureau to a collector changed everything. “I was blown away,” she says. “I started thinking about my photos in terms of, how can I make it a piece of art?”
“I’ve been doing collages a really long time,” Heidi says. Most of the images used in her brand of kitschy art come from her own photos or from old books she’s collected. “My foundation for my art is kitsch,” she says. “That’s an old German term, and it makes fun of beautiful art, makes it irreverent or gaudy. I take images and they reflect my thoughts and feelings.”
What inspires her art?
“I make my best art when I’m sad or thoughtful.” 78
Images by Blakeney Cox