But Paris didn't get its colossal reputation for beauty by everybody staying home. Case in point: Thousands braved the wet weather there May 22 to 26 to attend the annual Ateliers d'Artistes de Belleville, featuring the works of 250 artists from 130 studios, the largest exhibit of its kind in France – and one La Jolla painter was thrilled to note that a stranger held a key to her trip's success.
Judy Judy Judy, as she prefers to be known (with all due respect to Cary Grant), was invited to show her works by a friend. The group was founded in 1989 as a center for cultural exchange, seeking to demonstrate “how art can be made accessible to everyone and contribute to the cultural vitality” of Paris.
An invitation to exhibit there is a pretty big deal, but Judy Judy Judy, a member of the La Jolla Art Association, is otherwise an old hand at travel to the City of Light. She's been there about 20 times and has taken in the works of everybody from modernist photographer Robert Mappelthorpe to the legendary Vincent van Gogh to Leonardo da Vinci. The Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre, any or all of Paris' 140 museums: She's likely been there, savoring the art and history that defines Paris and, by extension, much of the world.
“You know how all roads lead to Rome?” she asked. “All flights lead to Paris for me.”
Taste and intelligence are her brands, she says as she seeks to evoke a nod to her subjects' femininity. Such is the case with “Midnight Rendezvous,” an oil on linen that features a lone woman with a phone in her hand – by the look in her eye, and for better or worse, the caller could be anyone from her past or her future.
It was through this work that Judy would experience a watershed in her career – for here, in a renowned metropolis of 11 million, surrounded by centuries of artistic expression in every venue from world-famous museums to corner cafés, a Belleville patron was moved to seek her out on the strength of some faceless introductory material.
“I usually go to other places when I travel,” she explained, “like London or Istanbul, which I love. But the art always draws me back to Paris, and that's why it was so wonderful to be [sought] out there. He was a little man, very polite and very interested. There was another man who was looking at something of mine, but we didn't meet.”
To make matters better, Judy said, she sold an unrelated painting.
“It's a destination,” Judy said of Paris and the untold activity surrounding the city's visual arts community. “Having your work recognized in Paris is an enormous thrill.” The voice is resolute and matter-of-fact, as if the prospect of settlement there is a foregone conclusion. For now, Judy Judy Judy is content to ply her trade amid the memories of the city that inspires her.
For a look at Judy Judy Judy's work, please see judyjudyjudyart.com.