Scene by Rhys.com and the year-old Scene By Rhys Art Gallery on Toulouse present an absolutely unique view of New Orleans music as seen through the eyes of local artist Emilie Rhys whose fine-art pen and ink drawings, created during live performances in the city’s famous clubs and festivals, capture the energy, intensity and movement so vividly that you can hear the music in the artwork.
Venues frequented by Rhys include Snug Harbor, Chickie Wah Wah and Prime Example. Subjects vary from Aurora Nealand to Nicholas Payton, Treme Brass to Tuba Skinny, and many more!
A 3rd generation artist whose art career spans 40 years, Emilie Rhys has since October 24, 2011 been prolifically producing original artworks of musicians during live performances around New Orleans. To promote this work, in December 2015 she launched SceneByRhys.com, and then a year later – along with musician Esther Rose as Manager – Ms. Rhys opened the brick & mortar storefront Scene By Rhys Art Gallery, located in a historic 1798 French Quarter building on Toulouse, entered through a large courtyard guarded by two stone lions high up on the street wall.
The purpose of this website and the gallery on Toulouse is to celebrate the music and musicians of New Orleans via the public display and sales of this artwork showing one very unique view of the local music scene. And musicians benefit from not only from the visual homage in the artwork, but also from the direct sales commissions Ms. Rhys personally delivers to them.
Originals range in size from 5"x7" to 30"x40", and prints/posters range from 8"x10" to 36"x48". Most are available unframed, but in-house framing options can be viewed at the gallery and on the website at the "Framed By Rhys" category. Shipping is available all across America.
We invite you to take a look at the artwork available for purchase in person during regular business hours at the Scene By Rhys Art Gallery in the heart of the historic French Quarter, and 24/7 online in the website Shop.
708 TOULOUSE STREET
COURTYARD ENTRANCE • JUST OFF ROYAL
FRENCH QUARTER • NEW ORLEANS
Regular Open Times unless otherwise noted:
OPEN NOON TO 6PM • THURS-MON
THE SMEAR OF INK • THE STROKE OF GENIUS
Emilie Rhys was born in New York City in 1956, the daughter of NYC/NOLA artist Noel Rockmore and Elizabeth Hunter, and the granddaughter of NYC artists Floyd Davis and Gladys Rockmore Davis. She grew up in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, CA. Ms. Rhys drew pictures from the time she could hold a crayon, and by the age of 14 she had developed a strongly individualistic style evidenced in her first small sustained series of works utilizing rapidograph pens and a pointillist technique to produce drawings of imaginary mystical characters.
In her youth, there was no artistic influence from Ms. Rhys’s father or grandparents because she was separated from them as her father left the family when she was under 2 years old; her mother kept none of his artworks nor photos of him, and there was zero contact. Years passed by and instead of art school and without support at home, Ms. Rhys taught herself by studying the masters whom she admired: Giotto, Rembrandt, El Greco, Cezanne, and Picasso among many. Slowly over the years, through trial and error she built a solid base of technical skills.
MUSIC INKED INTO ART: THE BODY OF WORK
All drawings are created from life as the music is being performed in the venues or in the artist’s studio, and it is a point of pride that the artist does not utilize photography in creating these images unless some aspect of a commission requires it, i.e. depicting historical subjects. Consequently, Ms. Rhys spends a lot of time in music venues, inspired by the brilliance of the music-makers to consign their image – and the environment in which they work – to art.
Each one starts out in a spiral-bound Aquabee sketchbook, either 11"x14" with 60 pages or 14"17" with 50 pages. The paper is 93lb archival acid-free professional quality. Each book is consecutively numbered (i.e. Rhys NOLA Sketchbook #1 was begun in October 2011 and the most recent, #75 in June 2017). The work begins with an H-lead pencil, and fountain pens filled with Noodler’s ink are utilized soon after.
Sometimes drawings call out for further development, and sometimes colors are heard in the piece that must be added later on in the artist’s art studio where the colors of the ink already on the page blend with the added gouache colors in perfect serendipity.
Rhys 17"x14" NOLA Sketchbook #40 • Open to First Page
A 14"x11" Aquabee Sketchbook
A "Sold" Drawing Packed in a Clear-Bag
We love the musicians of New Orleans and hope you do too!
In homage to the inspiration of their music and image, a percentage of all sales (not including framing costs)
go to the musicians/bands depicted in each artwork - whether originals or prints.
MUSIC INKED INTO ART: THE SHOP
We invite you to take a look at the artwork available for purchase here in the shop on this website 24/7, and in person at the Scene By Rhys Art Gallery located at 708 Toulouse Street in the heart of the historic French Quarter where the gallery is open Thursday-Monday, 12pm-6pm. When you can, pay us a visit in person and spend a moment to flip through some of the sketch-books, a unique view of the local scene. Most works are unframed, but we offer extensive framing options. Shipping is available throughout North America.
We love the musicians of New Orleans and In homage to the inspiration of their music and
image, a percentage of all sales (not including framing costs) go to the musicians depicted in
each artwork - whether originals or prints.
Scene By Rhys Art Gallery
Emilie Rhys, Artist/Owner
Esther Rose, Gallery Manager
Rhys drawings and paintings are available for CD covers, posters and other promotional materials. Please reach out for more information if you're a musician or producer. For any other uses of Rhys’ images, requests for permission may be made via form or phone as well.
708 Toulouse Street • New Orleans, LA 70130
Thurs-Mon, 12pm-6pm • 504-258-5842
Soon after, at El Farol on Canyon Road, guitarists Carlos Lomas and Bruce Dunlap caught Ms Rhys’s eye and her first live drawings of musicians commenced. This activity progressed from there to include other venues and a few other musicians, most notably Bill and Bonnie Hearne and their band and a Russian singer, Olga, accompanying herself on accordion.
Rhys's mural painting of father and friends, Feb/March 1977. Skyscraper Building at St. Peter & Royal. Photo credit Johnny Donnels
“Rembrandt by Rhys”
This pastel copy was on display at Rhys's portrait painting stand
She rejoined her father when she was 20 years old and lived with him on Orleans Avenue in the French Quarter for 10 tumultuous months. He put her to work on his mural commissions. She painted a small mural of her own on a third-story courtyard balcony wall in the historic Skyscraper building at St. Peter & Royal.
Ms. Rhys then became a successful Fence Artist in Jackson Square doing pastel portraits and would have stayed in New Orleans had her father been more supportive of her nascent work. But his volcanic fury pushed her away.
Ms. Rhys moved on, and lived in many places after that, and in 1988 her future husband John Heller took her to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There she was enchanted, as so many artists are, by the light and by the intensity of colors in the terrain and sky which caused a significant shift in her artwork towards brightness and an earth/sky color scheme. The couple moved from New York City to Santa Fe in 1994, (relocating to New Orleans in 2011).
The story of Emilie Rhys’ artistic body of work in New Orleans begins on October 24th, 2011 when she arrived back in town after a long haitus and went straight over to Preservation Hall and did something she'd never done before: she started drawing the musicians performing there that night. She had not sat in the Hall since February 1995, for her father Noel Rockmore’s memorial service, a week after he passed away.
In the 1960’s, Rockmore painted Jazz musicians at Preservation Hall. His French Quarter art dealer Larry Borenstein encouraged him to paint during nightly performances and during the day paid him to create a series of life-sized oil portraits of people like Billie and DeDe Pierce, Kid Thomas Valentine, Louis Nelson, Chicken Henry and many others who were performing regularly at the new venue, Preservation Hall, which had been “Mr. Larry’s Art Gallery” before he and others converted it into the hallowed hall we today know and love.
Some of those canvases grace the walls of the performance space to this day, and this is what makes it particularly special for Ms. Rhys to draw there with the spirits of her father and the old musicians looking down on her as new generations of musicians perform the music, and she creates new artworks of them in action.
Rockmore oil on canvas of Trumpeter Kid Sheik, 1963. This canvas appears behind the bassist in Preservation Hall,
Rhys engaged in a “drawdown” with TooLoose, a Frenchmen Street maven. Photo credit Rita Posselt.
A friend, Rita Posselt, took Ms. Rhys to Palm Court and Frenchmen Street soon after that first week back in New Orleans, and things started happening which gave Ms. Rhys the idea that there was possibly a future for her here. People took notice of what she was drawing and though it took months for her drawing confidence to return fully, by January 6, 2012, Ms. Rhys had finally created a drawing which showed a clear advance upon all previous ones - the "Breakout Piece" below, of the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio.
The drawing style evolved over time, as did Ms Rhys’s experimentation with different fountain pens and water media, and by the summer of 2014 the style had settled into the mature signature characteristics still consistently evident to this day, and as of November 2017, the New Orleans Sketchbooks are legion, numbering 81 and counting.
PAST OEUVRE: 1983-2001
Crossed Paths: 1988-1990
Manifest Destiny: 1993-2001
MUSIC INKED INTO ART: TECHNICAL SPECS
When a book is filled front to back with images, the spiral binding is removed and each page is professionally scanned and all details about each image are entered into our extensive database; then the pages are placed in presentation portfolios to protect them while they await perusal and eventual sale.
We invite you to pay us a visit in person at the gallery and flip through some of the books – an interesting random way to explore the music world of New Orleans, seen through the eyes of Rhys. Most drawings are sold unframed, packed in a Clear-Bag envelope with a stiff acid-free backing board, but a few are available framed by the artist and are on view at the gallery.
On the Web & At 708 Toulouse Street
THE ARTIST AT WORK
as seen in this Rhys drawing.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org your photos of Rhys at work at a venue, and we’ll post them here with the finished drawing, as seen in this slideshow!
To match the photo with the correct artwork, provide us with the date and location of the photo. And, when you see Rhys at work in a venue, please do say hello...the artist enjoys meeting musicians and fellow music fans.
For any questions about Rhys’ work, commissions, or media inquiries,
please submit the form or contact us via voice or text.
708 Toulouse Street
Courtyard Entrance • Just Off Royal
French Quarter • New Orleans
OPEN: THURS-MON 12pm-6pm
Expanded Hours during Music Festivals in New Orleans.
Scene By Rhys
708 Toulouse Street • New Orleans, LA 70130
Thurs-Mon, 12pm-6pm • 504-258-5842
MUSIC INKED INTO ART
Welcome to the unique view of New Orleans music as seen through the eyes of local artist Emilie Rhys whose fine-art pen and ink drawings, created during live performances in the city’s famous clubs and festivals, capture the energy, intensity, color and movement so vividly that you can hear the music in the artwork.
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Visit us at 708 Toulouse, near Royal, in the French Quarter.