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Born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters is highly skilled, and extremely meticulous when it comes to his beadwork. While other kids were out playing ball, Demond was honing his craft, his elders taught him, that would lead him to the recognition he is finally receiving today.
Between creating art for people, helping kids learn the trade, and designing his Mardi Gras outfit, I’m not sure how he does it all. He has the unique skill set of being able to work on multiple pieces at once – which is likely why his wife said he gets 5 hours of sleep a night.
Big Chief explained to me that it’s all in his head – he may draw it out, but he sees it all in his head on what it’s going to look like. Demond studied art history, he knows how other artists work, he wants to know how they work. He likes to look at their pieces and try to figure out how they got there. He told me, “I know how to draw with beads.” And does he ever. He has the unique skill of being able to work on multiple pieces at once.
1. What products and services do you offer?
Outstanding products! I make beaded pieces of art that are full of history. This art is a piece of a black Indian that you can’t get at Mardi Gras, you can’t get at Super Sunday. I bless all of them. They are a blessing in disguise. I make pieces of people who are important.
2. How long have you been in business?
26 years I’ve been doing this.
3. How do people find you online?
4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew?
That I work with people and do commissions. I put a ton of work into this, but I make personal commissions.
5. What’s your favorite aspect or project you’ve worked on?
Incorporating the smallest, detailed, beaded pieces done on a 60″ wide canvas.
Find Big Chief’s current pieces for sale at Gallery Two, located at 831 Royal St. in the French Quarter.