New Orleans-based artist Tex Jernigan likes to remain coy about exactly how he does it, but by using a portable platform system in a shallow body of water he can create the illusion of subjects walking on water — that act synonymous with the impossible or miraculous.
"It's beyond elevating people to rockstar or celebrity. It's bringing people to spiritual leader, or Jesus," he says. "It's the miracle of walking on water."
At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, Jernigan will be where St. Bernard Avenue meets Lake Pontchartrain to demonstrate his technique, and onlookers can even participate in their own walking-on-water portraits.
"With things like Facebook and Twitter you want to have lots of crazy images of yourself," he says. "I'm filling a need in that sense."
A sculpture major from the Kansas City Art Institute, Jernigan's sculpture and installations also toy with perspective. The addition of human subjects in his works, he says, is what makes the illusions come alive. In his One With the Universe series, he and his collaborators hammered galvanized steel pipes into the ground at various angles. Shot from an elevated angle with a person in the center of the pipes, the subject appears to be radiating ethereal energy.
"It's an insane coincendance that Sunday is wear-a-toga-to-get-in-free day (at Greek Fest)," he says. "I'm hoping we're gonna get a decent crowd coming over with togas."