Marcus Watson: The Beauty of Art


Marcus Watson: The Beauty of Art




Marcus Watson (NOLA Artist)


This is an interview-style video about an artist, Marcus Watson, who centered his art around making a statement, beginning in the very city where art brings people of all class, color, and culture together.


Niya Davis


My Nola, My Story via Youtube


Mass Communications department at the Xavier University of Louisiana.


29th November 2020


Niya Davis


My Nola, My Story


My Nola, My Story 2020




Inshot, Video



A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format


(Voice note) "New Orleans, Louisiana raises many creative minds, as it is a city filled with art. Mardi Gras inspires artist all over the world to make a statement in society. I spoke with a New Orleans native who began his journey with art in the very city that amazes tourist everyday with is freedom of expression."

Watson: "Hi, my name is Marcus Watson and I am a New Orleans native. I've lived there for, about maybe, 32 years I would say."
Question (What was your experience growing up as a black New Orleans native?)
Watson: "I had a pretty positive experience. Um, I didn't...I don't know, I had a good childhood in New Orleans. I I always went to the parks or the movies or um you know, did a lot of the New Orleans scenic things like um...the zoo and French Quarters and, and all of that. So I would say that growing up, um, it was pretty positive. I didn't really have any type of negative uh experiences or responses or anything like that, so it was pretty decent."

Question (What part of NOLA did you grow up in?)

Watson: "I grew up in the...close to like the Lakeview area, so that was close to, um, UNO, the Lakefront, um. I lived about five blocks from UNO, um, off of, um, Leoncesimon um, and then Saint Anthony, so not too far from there."

Question (Do you think your childhood was different from the average black NOLA native?)

Watson: "Yeah, I would say so. Um, um, its the seventh ward and it um, it was pretty mixed I would say. It was uh, a mixed class of people, both class, um race wise, all of that. Um of course there were some areas in New Orleans that are you know like heavily populated by blacks, and whatnot, and then there's white areas and what have you, but the elementary school, the um high school to a certain degree was just pretty diverse and I felt safe. I think that you know of course there's some areas that are kind of seedy, um but for the most part, where I stayed it was relatively safe."

Question (How did being from NOLA influence your passion for art?)

Watson: "Well I... I always kind of knew how to draw, I mean nobody really had to teach me, it was just like one of those um, gifts, one of those talents that was just kinda bestowed on me. Um, and it was just a hobby, but I think New Orleans kind of influenced me um in the artistic sense with going to...when I went um on field trips to the um, to NOMA um and the wax museum and really the... like Mardi Gras (laughs) Mardi Gras. This is kinda crazy but um, one of the things that I absolutely loved as a child was looking at the floats, and how the floats were decorated. Um with the color and the scenes and the themes, and I really really got into that. And at one point in time, I wanted to be like um, like a float maker (laughs) um someone that would design the floats and and paint the floats and just decorate it. Um so it really really kind of influenced me there do the work that um, that I would later produce as an adult. So um, and im just actually now thinking of that, I haven't thought about that in a while. It inadvertently did that, so, um, New Orleans also had a lot of um galleries I um have come to find later on in life as an adult and I knew that um I wanted to study art, go to school for art, create art. Um, and...yea there just a number of galleries in like the uptown area. Um, I would love to um go back to visit and, um, and see them, so, hopefully get into one of them one day.

Question (What kind of art do you specialize in?

Watson: "A lot of my work concentrates on the figure, on the male figure in particular, and I am, um, my work, the way that I see it is more talking about a social consci-conscience. Just looking at what I see around me and commenting on that through um, my art. So, originally I was a classic train artist. So usually I would, what I see in front me, and drawing it to the T, and drawing it realistically. Um getting a little bit of that um Trompe-l'œil, um appearance. Um but, when um, when I started grad school and um when I started talking to my professors, it had me experiment and try out different mediums and really just trying to get out of my comfort zone. Um, so now, my art was now more, I still have a little bit of that photorealism, that realistic, classical work, but I now try to blend in um, shapes and colors and forms, um, in order to build of the figure, so, its kind of like both worlds within one.

Question (Did you have any role models from NOLA that influenced your passion for art?)

Watson: "My Role models would be those that actually, had the courage enough to paint, like, big murals (Niya: "Yeah
'laughs') um, clowns in new Orleans and, um, like I was saying before, the floats and whatnot. Those, in a sense, are kind of like murals. They're on a surface, they're larger than life, and they, they entertain to a certain degree ,um, people. They teach people whatever theme, it is on the float, so, I don't think I could um, pin it down to one person. It's more so the group of people that have created all of that work."

Question (Why did you leave NOLA?)

Watson: "I left as a result of Katrina, Hurricane Katrina, in 2015. I moved and ,um, I was still living in Louisiana, I moved to a small town, um, west of New Orleans called Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Niya: "mmhm") It was there where, um, I wanted a change, I wanted something new, I wanted something different; so, that's where, um, I enrolled in, um, the college there, the university there, and that where I started art. So, um, I made sure to get my bio degree first, because, you know, if I couldn't make anything or do anything with my, um, bachelors in art, then I could also always fall back on that, so, um, really it was after Hurricane Katrina, where it just kind of- I just left New Orleans, and um, from Lake Charles, Louisiana, I went up to Seattle for grad school and did two years there, masters, and then came back down to New Orleans, and, um, I was just-I was looking for a teaching job, I wanted to teach art, um, but New Orleans had changed a lot, um, I as far as from what I knew, um, I didn't really think of going back to my old high school and teaching there although, I probably could've, um, but, again New Orleans had just changed so much, I don't know , it just changed, so, thats when I decided to um, look elsewhere and I got a teaching job in Memphis and, um, I've been here ever sense and that was, uh, again in 2015."

(The Art of Mardi Gras)

Watson: "I will say that, um, Mardi Gras-and not to sound stereotypical or anything like that- But Mardi Gras is one of those events that really brings people together, regardless of class, regardless of race, um, New Orleanians, Louisianians just love to have fun and you don't see that elsewhere. You don't see that really anywhere else across the country and there's something about New Orleans that has that flavor, that vibe, you know, and people just get so seduced by it and they're in it, you know, when you're born into it, its a commoner, regular, everyday thing, um, but it isn't until you go elsewhere where you realize the magic-(laughs)- that was there, um, that you just had grown accustomed to. It's just regularly, ordinary thing
New Orleanians just get it, they, you know, it's standard to them. Whereas, you know, someone from elsewhere that's coming to visit New Orleans, especially at Mardi Gras time, they're like 'Oh my god (laughs), oh my god', you know, people dancing, and singing in the streets and just having a good time, and it's-it's wonderful really to see that, you know, um, and I think, you know, what's sad about this whole thing with Covid is that we won't get to have it this year and , um, you know, pe-we need that (laughs).

(Thanks for watching! Check out for more art!)


11:05 (Eleven minutes and Five seconds)


Niya Davis


Niya Davis


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Date Added
October 21, 2020
Item Type
Moving Image
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Niya Davis, “Marcus Watson: The Beauty of Art,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed August 13, 2022,