Local artist Stephen Murphy is helping the victims of hurricane Katrina the only way he knows how with his painting.
With strokes of his paintbrush, the Leslieville resident is doing his part to help with the hurricane relief effort.
While every artist hopes to sell his or her artwork, no artist could be more committed than Murphy, who is dedicated to seeing his collection of paintings, entitled the Big Easy, turn into cash for the victims.
At Queen St. East 's Hang Man Gallery, from Feb. 7 to 26, Murphy will exhibit 15 paintings, the majority of which, he painted during his - trip to New Orleans last April.
Ten percent of the profits from each painting will go to either a New Orleans elementary school, for art supplies, or if that doesn't work out, to Habitat for Humanity instead.
Murphy hopes to raise between $2,000 and $5,000.
"I was going to have the show anyway. But the show has taken on whole different aspect, in regards to what I want to do with the show itself, he said. When I saw the images on the television like we all did, I asked myself why shouldn't I give something toward the rebuilding of New Orleans ?
Murphy's paintings are true portraits of what the historic city looked like before the August hurricane devastated the region.
Murphy said the paintings are true to form, done is his own particular style of vivid watercolours from electric blues to mellow greens a style he describes as wonky.
Murphy hopes his paintings will raise the much-needed money.
I'm not talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. I'm talking about one artist in the east-end of Toronto, who's going to be putting up instead of shutting up.
Being in New Orleans and seeing the poverty there outside the French Quarter and outside the Garden District it's just heartbreaking. You can't stand back and just say 'my goodness,' he said.
Murphy's experiences in New Orleans, particularly the time he spent in the French Quarter, got his creative juices flowing, and he completed many of the paintings and sketches right there.
It was such a charming place in itself because it has the Spanish and French in6uences. The architecture is incredible, said Murphy, adding New Orleans provided him with a wealth of subjects to paint. Everything has this wonderfully distressed, colonial French kind of feel to it. It's really a great place for a painter to go and paint.
Locally, Murphy is best known for his paintings of the TTC street- cars.
At the end of January, he's off on a new adventure, this time to Easter Island in the south Pacific, to paint images of the moai, the large statues the island is famous for. Those paintings will be exhibited in mid-March at the Toronto Convention Centre.
But the exotic locale of Easter Island doesn't compare to a trip he's looking forward to taking later this year. Murphy plans to return to New Orleans, hopefully with a large cheque.