Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Art of Dining

The stereo-typical “starving artist” is a ubiquitous and enduring figure in popular culture, probably because there’s a lot of truth to a concept that embraces the extended family of creative professionals: painters, dancers, cartoonists, musicians, writers. If you sell enough of your art, you get to eat regularly.

It’s that first part that trips most of us up.

One time-honored strategy that visual artists use to overcome this dilemma is to partner directlywith restaurants. We provide them with pictures, and they feed us whatever is about to be tossed out of the walk-in. Even better, sometimes they give us real money, so we can sit down and give it back to them in return for a hot meal. Maybe two.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to see my work displayed in eateries large and small, all over the country. For more than a decade, my nautical Crab drawing has adorned the walls of the Crab House at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

Down on the Emerald Coast in Destin, Florida, sun worshippers have enjoyed burgers and wings at Beef O'Brady's, while looking at the Golf Bag and Baseball Glove.

Though I’ve never seen it myself, I am told that the Baseball print also hangs in the Ladies’ room at Glory Days Grill in Sterling, Virginia

In the New Orleans area, the Juke Box and Saxophone blend harmoniously with the local traditions at the McDonald’s restaurant in LaPlace, Louisiana. It was here that science teacher Barry Guillot discovered my work, and came up with the idea for the Gator Aid project.

The latest gourmet gallery to showcase DS Art drawings is Dyron’s Low Country in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Owner Dyron Powell commissioned two large canvas prints of gourmet favorites: The Crab returns on a grand scale, and the row of Long Stemmed Rose’s stretches a full six feet along the wall. Just a half a block from our studio here in Homewood, Alabama, a Golf Bag print decorates the wall of Sam's Super Sandwiches, right there at the end of the counter. And soon the Gator Aid drawing will be catching grits and gravy in New Orleans restaurants, as an art activity placemat.

Needless to say, I am very proud of the fact that my silly drawings have found their way to these many fine dining establishments, where they can be seen and enjoyed by so many people. If one of these restaurants is in your area, please stop by – often – to partake of excellent food, and pretty good décor, too. And if you spot one of my pictures hanging out in another eatery anywhere in the world, send me an e-mail and we’ll add it to the list.

Did they pay you in food?

While I am contractually and ethically prohibited from revealing the specific details of any of these exchanges, it is apparent to anyone who sees me that this artist has missed very few meals in the past 25 years. With any luck at all, I plan to keep up the practice for a long time to come.


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