Probably better known to the general public as Kirk Mc Coll from “As the World Turns” or the despicable lawyer, Michael Baldwin, on “The Young and the Restless”, Christian Jules Le Blanc is also a native of Louisiana and quite an accomplished artist. Self-taught, originally Le Blanc’s illustrations started as gifts for his young nephews. His artwork soon dovetailed nicely with his acting career when he received a commission for the premier theatrical production of the Coconut Grove Theater’s 40th anniversary season. The producers requested that he transmogrify the human characters of the play, Ladies In Retirement, into the animal characters Le Blanc had been developing for children’s books. The drawings follow the course of the old Victorian whodunit, incorporating the clues of the murder mystery along the way.
Christian followed up his artistic success with Ladies In Retirement, by entering his first art show. He was awarded “second overall” in the prestigious Culver City Art Festival in Los Angeles. Among the proud owners of Le Blanc’s works are Julie Harris, Eileen Brennan, Charles Nelson Reilly, June Havoc and Grace Zabriskie.
His pieces: Home, Making Market, 5 O’clock at the 9 O’clock Cannon, La Chanson du Coq Noir, and La Premier Adieuare taken from his own children’s novel in progress, Tales of the Louisiana Moon. These works combine an authentic early New Orleans environment with high color fantasy that periodically is peopled by Le Blanc’s fellow Y&R castmembers.
Le Blanc’s 1999 Orpheus Mardi Gras Poster, was inspired by Le Blanc’s reintroduction to Mardi Gras in 1998 as an Orpheus celebrity monarch. Commissioned by the parade’s founders, Harry Connick, Sonny Borey and Anne Rice, that year’s parade theme was “World Premiers at the Old French Opera House”.
Le Blanc’s efforts to capture his experience of the madness and mayhem of carnival are enhanced by the artist’s meticulous attention to detail. The Opera House’s interior is taken from photos and sketches of the original building, which unfortunately burned down in 1919. The costumes are circa 1860s; opera’s golden era in New Orleans.
Lost in the crowd are characters fantastical and familiar, ranging from fellow actors on “The Young and the Restless” to friends Christopher Rice (writer and son of Orpheus co-founder Ann Rice) and Los Angeles director and Louisiana native, Sid Montz.
“Your eye should be constantly in motion: discovering something new at every turn, overhearing bits of conversation, noticing hidden gestures, wondering what lies in the darkness behind a curtain. Wherever your attention settles, a story should reveal itself. Everything should be tinged with magic and mystery.”
Christian’s work has been shown at the Antoine Gallery in Washington D.C. and is currently hanging at the Jeanne Bragg Gallery of Southern Art in New Orleans.