Francis X. and Cathi Pavy joined Discover Lafayette to talk about Pavy Art + Design, their contemporary line of Acadian-inspired textiles derived from the iconic artwork of Francis X. Pavy.
While Pavy Art + Design is primarily focused on business-to-business sales, individuals can also buy direct. Cathy says, “Our goal is to get into showrooms to the trade across the country” so that everyone can get to know what is special about Acadiana.
The business was conceptualized in 2019; the Pavys had “always talked about extracting elements of Francis’ paintings and creating textiles.” The process of converting art into a textile design is a business that has allowed the couple to honor their mutual South Louisiana heritage, which they both cherish. Francis spoke of the prevalence of native grasses such as Tunica, Cane, Marsh, and Briar and how his patterns each embody a story about South Louisiana.
Francis has been creating art for forty years in his studio in Downtown Lafayette. He was originally inspired as a child by a Saturday morning syndicated show called “Drawing with Jon Gnagg,” and his parents signed him and his sister, Camille, up for art classes with the acclaimed Elemore Morgan who was teaching at that time at Girard Park. Francis kids that he hounded his parents for a drawing kit and he still has a piece of it.
He also learned photography while still a young boy when his dad documented their lives through his photos. Francis had a darkroom in the attic and learned to develop the film. He still “takes photographs in his head” when he is inspired to paint.
Francis is an internationally acclaimed painter and mixed-media artist known for his vivid works capturing the folklore of South Louisiana. Both Francis and Cathi stressed the importance of their formative years, being raised in families that played music and loved to dance to Cajun music. The discovery and reinvention of Cajun Culture is a new experience for every generation according to Francis. “The younger kids playing music interpret it in their own way, which is no different than the 80s when Beausoleil came out. I think our culture is reinvented every so many years. Even before us, it was Dewey Balfa and Iry LeJeune who changed Cajun culture after the war and the Newport Folk Festival. We have a dynamic culture that is always changing.”
In 1990, Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed Francis the “Picasso of Zydeco.” Collectors of his art include The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Morris Museum of Art, Ron Howard, Paul Simon, and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, among others. His work is featured on the TomTom Club album cover of the Talking Heads. Lorne Michaels of SNL fame discovered Francis’ work while traveling to Louisiana a couple of times and he has the artist’s work front and center in his office in NYC and his home in Montauk on Long Island.
While Francis is an internationally known painter, Cathi brings years of experience to the business; she has been a brand strategist with more than 20 years as an agency partner and creative director. Well known in our community for her work in the industry, Cathi’s heart is also in the service work she does, including her work with ABC Fund – $10M endowment dedicated to art + culture, Hilliard University Art Museum Advisory Committee and the UL-Lafayette College of the Arts Advisory Committee.