ARTMazing - A Selfie Gallery with a Brazilian Twist
By Cody A. Downey
Click aqui para español- > ARTmazing: una galería de selfies con un toque brasileño
From the world of exporting granite to creating a space for Instagram worthy photos, Brazilian artist Giselle Monteiro provides an experience that you shouldn’t take for granted with ARTmazing Selfie Gallery.
The idea to open a pop art selfie gallery came to Monteiro when she visited a selfie gallery in New York City for her birthday. After that experience, she knew she could do something like that herself in New Orleans.
“We started searching, and there was no place in New Orleans like this yet. That’s when we decided that we wanted to create a selfie gallery, and we started working on the project,” Monteiro said.
The process took almost a year, with ARTmazing opening up in October 2020. The 6,000 square foot gallery hosts 18 different scenarios for photos. Some of the favorites are the Money Room, which has loads of fake money hanging from the ceiling, and the Vogue Room, where the lights shine around visitors as if they were a celebrity.
Monteiro reached out to fellow Brazilian artist Bruna Petalla to help with the murals and art installations after seeing her art on Instagram.
“I was looking for an artist already, and then when Isaw that she is Brazilian, I thought it was perfect because I wanted to do something here to mix Brazil and New Orleans,” she said.
The pair collaborated on the different scenarios in the gallery, and Petalla created a signature mural on a tall wall up the stairs leading into the gallery.
Despite owning and designing for ARTmazing, it wasn’t until Monteiro began the project that she began exploring her more artistic side.
“My background was really with exporting granites and marble from Brazil, and then, I started working with cabinets,” she said. “After I decided to do the gallery, I looked for ways to learn how to create the installations. I went to a sculpture class, calligraphy class, and painting classes, and it helped me a lot to bring some of the ideas to life.”
ARTmazing will change some of its scenarios seasonally. There will be unique installations for holidays such as Mardi Gras or Easter. Monteiro wants to give both tourists and locals reasons to visit the gallery every so often.
“Even though we are in the French Quarter, which is the heart of all the tourists, we wanted to offer something for the locals that is different from the nightlife bar scene,” she said.
Visitors to the ARTmazing Selfie Gallery range from family groups to bachelorette parties. The gallery also has a beautiful space that groups can reserve for parties, meetings, and events.
Some people make their first stop at ARTmazing before going out to party. “They come to ARTmazing because they are all dressed up and are ready to have fun, so it is a cool spot to come with friends, take pictures and have fun with each other,” she said.
As ARTmazing continues to change out its scenarios and grow, the gallery will always have something unique that everyone can enjoy.
“It is a place for pictures and videos and to bring the family. It’s for all ages,” Monteiro said. “The kids love the place. Even the dads when they come, at first, they may not be feeling it, but soon they get in the mood and get to take pictures themselves.”
When you visit ARTmazing Selfie Gallery and find your favorite scenario, you complete the artwork and become the masterpiece.
ARTmazing is located on 309 Decatur street in New Orleans, and it’s open Thursday to Sunday from 1-8 pm. On Sundays, locals get a 20% discount with the code LOCALS. Tickets can be purchased online at artmazinggallery.com.