On Cocktail Culture
The growing craft cocktail movement is spreading throughout the country and people are starting to realize that a good drink can be as complex and beautiful as a fine meal. I have immersed myself in this culture and my current series attempts to capture the elegance, craft, and community surrounding classic cocktails.
To understand this culture I paint the cocktails themselves, the process used to create them and the bartenders that bring it all to life. I have found that my deep love for figure painting has proved to be an important asset in depicting the process. When painting a bartender pouring, shaking, or stirring there is one common element throughout, which is the human hand used to build the drink. While some artists shy away from hands, I have always thrived off painting them. Hands, like eyes, give you a glimpse into one’s soul and allows a story to be told by simply showing the hand behind the drink. Throughout the course of painting these many cocktails I discovered a new love for painting glass. Glass is an incredibly stimulating object to paint with its ever changing reflections and distortions. I am drawn to the juxtaposition of these two elements of hand and glass in both their textural differences and they way they seem to enhance each others character.
The similarities between both the craft of cocktails and the craft of painting runs deep. Both use traditional techniques, high quality materials and a skilled craftsman to create a unique interpretation of a timeless idea. The elegance of the 19th century where cocktails emerged is the same period that brought influential artists such as Degas, Sargent, Cezanne, Emerson, and Thoreau. Like the bartenders who have old recipe books, I look to these artists to inform my work and add my own modern take.
It might not be steeped in philosophy or symbolism, but for me it is honest. Cocktails are my culture and bartenders are my muse. Whether you are part of this world or just visiting, I hope that my paintings leave you with a taste for more.