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The Art of the Bar

If you’ve noticed that things have been a little quiet around here these last couple of weeks, I assure you that it’s not because we haven’t been hard at work on some very cool stuff.  Let me just say that Halloween is coming up, and that this year we’re doing something very special.  So, in the absence of a drink today, I thought that I’d share something a reader sent to me a yesterday.

We’re always impressed by the people that take the time to read our site, and getting to know some of them has been the greatest joy of putting this whole thing together.  As mentioned above, yesterday I received an email from a reader with whom I’d never spoken before.  California-based Matt Talbert is a fine artist who has turned his brush towards bar life and scenes.  His email contained the simple request of a link exchange (done, Mr. Talbert), but I, of course, first felt compelled to take a look at his work.

As I live in the Southern California suburbs, when someone mentions “cocktail art”, I’m all too quick to conjure up images of Michael Goddard and his horrific olive paintings, which I hold exist only to decorate some level of Hell or another.  The next image is of the outdoor art kiosks that litter SoCal malls in the summer time — “real art” depicting thinly veiled Opus One bottles and loafs of stale bread.  In short, when I received Matt’s email, my hopes weren’t high.  Even if they had been, however, the man would have surpassed them.

At his newly launched The Old Fashioned Artist blog, Talbert is mixing up classic cocktail in much the way that we are — save he trades jigger and glass for brush and canvas.  Whereas our drink photos are carefully composed still lifes, Matt’s impressionistic paintings reflect an energy and drama that really makes his work come alive.   Of course, there are comparisons I could draw when discussing his work — the Thiebaud like emphasis on shadows and pop colors, the Winslow Homer like naturalism — but his work really is its own, which is always the greatest compliment, I think.  Aside from his cocktail pieces, Talbert has an extensive gallery of figures and street scenes displayed at his Talbert Art site .  Here, I’m particularly drawn to the immense power and striking composition of “Silent Frustration” in his Figures & Portraits collection.

The bottom line here is:  if you’re looking for art for your home or your bar, you should be skipping the mall and patronizing real artists like Mr. Talbert.  He obviously loves his subject matter, and his training certainly is apparent.  I look forward to keeping tracking track of how his cocktail work progresses, and half the reason for me posting this today is to say directly to Matt: “You’ve got great talent, sir, keep it up!”   Because, whether we’re lovingly making drinks, writing about them, or painting them, the art of the bar is a beautiful thing to behold.