Beaumont artist shows work, paints at world-renowned Paris museum
Beaumont painter Darrell Troppy, 52, realized every artist’s dream by exhibiting his art at The Louvre, one of the world’s largest museums containing paintings dating back to the 13th century, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Troppy was chosen by an international selection committee to be a part of the 2014 Carrousel Eastern and Western International Art Exhibit held Jan. 11 and 12 in Paris, France, an event produced by Eureka Global Arts and the Canadian Chinese Cultural Development of Arts Association.
Troppy was selected for his incredible talent in figurative drawing — the process of drawing the human figure from observation of a live model and arguably the most difficult subject an artist commonly encounters.
Alongside artists from all over the world — including Helena Hans of Iceland and Gary Smith of Toronto, Canada — Troppy was the only American artist selected for this year’s competition in France.
Troppy and other artists collaborated on a special figurative piece that they painted on the spot Jan. 11, with world-renowned nude male model and rock ‘n’ roll singer Paris Black posing as the subject. A variety of Troppy’s art was displayed at The Louvre for a week and he received several awards including a trophy for Most Creative Artist and three certificates for Outstanding Accomplishment in various categories.
Troppy said he learned of the invitation after studying under Smith during a sabbatical to paint the beauty of fall foliage in Toronto, Canada, in late 2013. While visiting the Toronto artist, Troppy admired Smith’s medals, which he had won at the 2013 figurative drawing competition last year in Paris.
In December, after returning to Southeast Texas, Troppy received an e-mail from Smith, asking him to participate in this year’s competition at The Louvre, an offer the Beaumont artist said he initially turned down due to exhaustion from a busy holiday schedule but reconsidered after a Skype session with Len Briggs, with whom he held a 14-year-long friendship.
“He said, ‘One of the most foolish things you have ever done is turn down an invitation to the Louvre. How often do you get a chance to show at The Louvre, hang at The Louvre, and participate at a show at The Louvre?’”
Deciding that the opportunity might never come again, Troppy heeded his friend’s advice and accepted the invitation and booked his trip.
Troppy said because the trip was rushed, the accomplishment of being invited to the museum didn’t hit him until the plane trip over to Paris. He arrived in the city of love and lights Jan. 9.
Sitting on a trunk of art supplies outside the world-renowned Paris art museum’s entrance, Troppy had an epiphany.
“Little ol’ me from Lasara, Texas, painting at The Louvre. Who would have thought?” Troppy recounted. “And then all of a sudden in the same breath and catching it, then looking up and turning over and then looking at the pyramid, I thought, ‘You know what? There were a lot of little ol’ mees that said the same thing that are hanging in The Louvre.”
It wasn’t the first time Troppy had seen the museum, he said, having visited it 16 years ago. Ironically, that time he only spent 45 minutes in the museum, which can easily take three days to tour.
“I saw what I wanted to see … Toulouse-Lautrec, my hero. I went with three people... but all they wanted to do was go to the antique place.”
This time around, it was Troppy who was one of several artists featured at the museum, again not allowing him much time to enjoy the ancient and wondrous collections.
Upon his return from France, friends treated Troppy to a congratulations party, complete with a pyramid-shaped cake resembling The Louvre and celebrating his accomplishment.
Troppy, who was raised on a farm in Lasara, a small town in South Texas, said he began painting around the age of 6 and spent many years both as a student of art at Southwest Texas State University — among other schools — as well as a teacher at High Island High School, which was an especially rewarding and emotional part of his long career.
“You’ve had shows all over the country and nothing compares to shaping the minds of students,” he said. “All the things you’ve ever done — nothing compares to that.”
Unlike other artists who attempt to capture themes of sadness, anger and other negative human emotions, Troppy said his only desire is to capture the beauty of life through his art.
“There are other people who can paint the ugly. I am going to paint the pretty,” said Troppy.
Marty Craig, a friend and neighbor of Troppy, talked him into getting his master gardening certification through The Jefferson County Office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, he said. Troppy then became interested in photographing flowers, a staple of his works.
“Those came from somebody’s yard,” he said. “I would go out and take my camera and photograph at midnight. Nobody really sees what a flower looks like at night.”
Troppy also specializes in encaustic art, a method that uses a blowtorch to heat beeswax to which colored pigments are added. He was featured on Texas Country Reporter for his encaustic style of painting in 2012.
Troppy is tentatively scheduled to participate in art expos in New York in April and Beijing in September and will be holding a show Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 6-9 p.m. at his studio, 1393 Broadway in Beaumont. Paintings of hearts, perfect gifts for valentines, will be for sale with part of the proceeds going to charity, Troppy said.
While you are visiting his valentine show, you might be tempted to mention to Troppy what an outstanding achievement his invitation to The Louvre was. But don’t be surprised if the Southeast Texas artist remains humble in his response.
“Don’t put me on a pedestal. There are so many more things left to do,” Troppy said.