Artist Jacob Zumo made his name by painting for the people.
Zumo, 27, has created well-known murals like the trio of famous Louisianians on Government Street downtown, and his signature — JZumo — can be seen on signage at local bars and restaurants.
This weekend, he will headline his first solo art show with a new series of works inspired by nature and Native Americans.
“It’s kind of like four different styles that kind of catch everybody’s eye,” he said. “I think everybody has something there they potentially will like.”
The show includes different facets of Zumo’s work — hunting-inspired wildlife paintings, abstract takes on landscapes and gritty portraits of Native American men and their tools and weapons.
His new paintings represent some artistic exploration and experimentation. The Native American paintings — many of them Sioux men and their tools and weapons — are gritty and full of texture. Zumo created them with a palette knife, smearing the paint on the canvas instead of using a brush.
The hunting pieces build on prints he produced and feature wildlife on bright backgrounds. His “abstract landscapes” use natural colors to evoke scenes of hills, forests and water.
An alumnus of The Dunham School, Zumo will donate 20 percent of proceeds from the show to the school’s endowment fund, which helps provide scholarships and grants to students.
And this is probably the first Baton Rouge art show sponsored by a gun shop. The owner of Jim’s Firearms became a fan of Zumo’s work and agreed to work on the show with him.
Why focus on hunting and the outdoors?
A lot of my buddies and family here hunt, but I’m not a hunter. I felt tapping into a market there could help get my name out and get a few sales. I did a mallard duck, and it kind of blew up. I wanted to put a modern twist on a Guy Harvey (a well-known fishing artist) type of feel, but not so much fish but all the hunting stuff here in the South.
I did a whole new hunting series that I’m still working on now. The first series had a black background and focused on the animal. The next series, the background will be bright, bright orange like the hunters’ vests. The animals are color blind to that, so it’s going to be a play on that. It’s going to be a really loud piece.
How did the Native American series evolve?
It’s almost abstract, man. It’s straight black and white. If you’re up close to it, it looks like shapes, but when you step back, things come into focus. It’s almost a sloppy, rough look. I did a lot of tools and weapons.
It was just something when I practiced and messed around with palette knives, I kind of saw the wrinkles in the Native Americans’ faces would be awesome and the feathers and everything that went with them, that rugged look. It would be a good addition to the pieces I did with the hunting.
You describe your landscapes as “abstract.” What do you mean?
It’s more like landscapes, all nature colors and earth tones just to kind of tie in everything back to nature and Native Americans and hunting. When you’re out there hunting and what you see, that type of thing.