Fredrick Guess Bio

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Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 4.06.48 PM.png

Fredrick Guess Bio


Fredrick Guess

Fredrick Guess was born a sixth generation Floridian on April 21, 1953 in LakeWales, Florida.

Guess says that he had no choice but to be an artist – it’s just who he has always been. His parents, both of whom served in WWII, encouraged what they saw as his budding talent from an early age. His formal art training began at the University of South Florida. He went to receive his Fine Arts degree from the AmericanAcademy of Art in Chicago, Illinois in 1975. He then returned to central Florida to study as the protégé of renowned artist Marilyn Bendell for three years.

Since then, he has continually earned his living as an artist. His career began as a portraitist in Manhattan, where he lived for nearly five years, after which he returned to Florida for the next fifteen years. During that time, besides pursuing his passion for painting, he owned and ran an antique store, owned a shopping center, restored old homes, and restored and sold vintage grand pianos.

In 1997, Guess decided to move to New Orleans, the city that held his imagination since his first trip here at the age of fourteen. He opened the Fredrick Guess Studio on world famous Royal Street in the middle of the French Quarter. The Fredrick Guess Studio doubles as both retail gallery and working studio. In the studio, he enjoys meeting clientele from the world over, many of whom have become dear friends. He also has a wonderful time teaching workshops in the gallery and sharing his knowledge of painting.

Upon moving to New Orleans, Guess first lived in the French Quarter. There he fell into the rhythm of the city and immersed himself into its culture. He then moved to the Garden District and began to get a deeper appreciation for just how extensive the local culture has been ingrained into the area’s fabric. After ten years, Guess moved again, this time deeper into Louisiana’s unique aura. He now resides in the fishing village of Jean Lafitte, a small hamlet about twenty five miles south of the city. Nestled in the coastal wetlands he draws inspiration from the Cajun knack for joie de vivre and the environment’s serene waterways and picturesque settings.

An additional point of interest regarding Guess is his generosity. In an average year, his donated paintings raise over twenty five thousand dollars for social and charitable organizations as diversified as the Faulkner Society, Project Lazarus, Bravo – New Orleans Ballet Society, PBS, the Krewe of Petronius, the Krewe of Armenius and Parkway Partners, to name only a few. In 2006, in the aftermath of Katrina and the levee failures that devastated so much of his beloved New Orleans, Guess pulled together a group of friends to organize a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village. That event alone raised over twenty three thousand dollars.

Artist Statement

Life is a wonderful thing. The colors, movements, sounds and shapes that surround me inspire me. It doesn’t matter whether I am looking at French Quarter architecture or a pelican flying over the bayou or a pile of hot, boiled crawfish – they all move me.

My career began as a protraitist – a reflection of how much I enjoy people. But as life changed, so did my work. I still do portraits, and still love painting them. There’s just so much else in the world that I have seen and experienced that is so incredibly important to me, I had to expand my subject matter to include as much as I could. And especially since first moving to New Orleans and now gaining familiarity with Louisiana, I’ve come to appreciate what a marvelous abundance exists all around us for our taking.

To me, picking up a brush or pallette knife is an act of communing. I take in what’s around me, let it become part of me, and let it out again. In that step of letting it out, when it takes form on canvas, I get to not only re-experience it, but also to share it with someone else and hope that they make it part of their life. That’s when I feel that I’ve made a difference because my satisfaction doesn’t come from the taking in – it’s with the passing along.

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