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Artist loses warehouse of creations in flood; plans to make damage part of the art

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BATON ROUGE - With each brushstroke, Jacob Zumo is in control of the canvas. His brushes wear every decision he's made in his downtown art studio.

"Painting is not only the most therapeutic thing I do, but it's also the most mentally taxing thing," Zumo said.

He learned last week that when it comes to floodwaters, he has no control.

Zumo stores his finished pieces in an Industriplex Boulevard warehouse.

"When I saw them because we still had an inch of water, I was like 'eh it's not that many pieces,'" Zumo said."But when you start folding through them, it really hit me in the chest."

Last Monday, Industriplex Boulevard was covered by water. WBRZ cameras even caught at least one vehicle stranded in the flood. At its peak, the warehouse saw nearly a foot and a half of water.

Most of Zumo's paintings were on the floor.

Water lines and mold mark the damage on some of his pieces, which range from collaborations with celebrities to some of his earliest work from high school.

"These were all soaked and stuck together, like peeling, peeling off," Zumo said of some of his sketches he was able to salvage.

He looked at some of the warped artworks.

"This is like what the water is eventually going to do to them all," he said. "Eventually bow like that and either rip the canvas or eventually just going to pull off."

Zumo has spent the last decade creating his brand and building his inventory, which he says is now roughly slashed in half.

"[It's] a little overwhelming to just look at them, and there's a huge water stain on the front and the back," Zumo said. "Would someone still want this?"

The prices of the damaged pieces range from $1,000 to tens of thousands. On top of that, Zumo expects some form of restoration would cost thousands more. So he's applying his creativity to conjure up a 'flood line' series, turning the damage into the focus of all these works of art.

"A part of the art process is, you know, do you sit and mope or do you take this and kind of make something of it," Zumo said.

For Zumo, it's not just the price tags of the pieces that concern him, but the time spent creating them. He'll now have to spend even more time trying to salvage them, as he looks to take back control from the water that did the damage.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Zumo restore the pieces and rebuild his inventory.

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