By Lee Merrill
ocal artist Don Cobb paints memories. A staple at the Red River Revel, Cobb specializes in capturing the charm and nostalgia of historic and popular Louisiana landmarks. Recently, his painting of C.E. Byrd High School was embossed on the 2023 school yearbook, his art etched on a volume of a long legacy. This opportunity was just one of many recent happenings in Cobb’s art career.
“After several years of trying to get my artwork out there through traditional websites, I built an Etsy shop in 2008. That’s when things really started taking off,” said Cobb. His work was discovered on Etsy by Revival Studios in Toronto, Canada, as well as CBS Studio City in Los Angeles. Both studios purchased dozens of his pieces to use as wall decor in their movies.
Cobb was inspired to draw and paint as a boy watching Disney cartoons. “I have no formal training. As a kid, I used to draw on paper sacks, cardboard, or any scrap of paper I could find. My aunts and grandmother would praise my artwork, and I liked that!”
He took his first art class in school in the mid-60s, where he was thrilled to get his hands on paints and brushes for the first time. Today, he creates his unique and eye-catching pieces using watercolor paper and acrylic paints. His paintings feature vivid hues and a life-like style that prompt observers to remember their personal experiences at local businesses, restaurants, and other haunts fondly. “I love old cafes, grocery stores, food markets…happy places full of memories,” said Cobb.
Cobb’s Etsy shop is full of both original pieces and prints of various sizes; however, he also accepts commissions. “I have painted hundreds of commissions. People send me cell phone photos or snapshots. It takes me two to three days to complete a small commission and a few weeks to complete a large canvas.” A stroll through Cobb’s Etsy shop truly brings back memories and sparks Louisiana pride. His paintings of local cafes and stores remind residents of simpler times and tourists of vacation memories. “I have lots of favorites from the pieces I’ve done, but I especially love my painting of Maggio’s Grocery Store.” In addition to his paintings of buildings, Cobb has many pieces that feature native birds, Cajun products, Louisiana symbols such as the crawfish and Fleur de Lis, and more. It’s obvious Cobb finds inspiration from everyday sights, even something as simple as a bottle of sauce on the table or a character-laden building on a street corner. It’s doubtful he’ll run out of ideas anytime soon.
Keep an eye out for Don Cobb’s art on the walls of Ochsner medical buildings around town and be sure to catch him on Etsy, at the Revel, and other Louisiana art festivals.