Pour an artist a cocktail to “stir the creative juices,” then hand over a Sharpie and a napkin. What doodle will result? We find out in this just-for-fun Friday series.
The Cocktail: A Kentucky Saint, bourbon, St. Germain, cynar and orange bitters, by Lindsay Baker at Franco
The Artist: David Johnson, photographer and 2012 winner of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis’ Great Rivers Biennial. Johnson, whose formal work explores the disembodied mark of “round-peg” humans on “square hole” architecture, also documents actual people on his annual summer pilgrimage to the 40-year-old Kerrville Folk Festival in the Texas hill country.
“I’ve been taking pictures of the festival for five years now,” he says. “It’s an 18-day camp-out full of five generations of hippie kids, a little calmer than Burning Man, but with a similar tribal aspect. Camp Chrome Gnome, Camp Leopard Lounge, Camp Fallen Women. It’s all about personalities. My photographs of it are 180-degrees different than my conceptual work. For one thing, there’s no architecture involved, unless you count tents.”
Johnson smeared his Booze Doodle of a tent with some pomme frites to see if grease would have any effect on the Sharpie ink. A day later it began to blur ...
What made you choose a Kentucky Saint?
I’m a whiskey drinker. I come from a family of whiskey drinkers, in fact. My mom’s a painter who prefers Irish whiskey, and my dad’s a lawyer who likes bourbon. I’m into the peatiness of Scotch, although in the summer sometimes I’ll go for the sweeter bourbon. This drink is very tasty. It kind of reminds me of my grandma’s apple pie.
What sort of restaurants do you like here in St. Louis?
I’m from Austin; I came here for grad school at Washington University. It took me a while to adjust, but I am very pro-St. Louis now. The art scene in this city is alive: we’ve got major museums, great galleries, smart and passionate artists who all support one another. And so much cool space to work with and in.
There’s a lot of happening food in St. Louis, too, although as an outsider, it’s hard for me to understand St. Louis-style pizza like Imo’s “square beyond compare.” Tangy cheese product on a cracker crust doesn’t do it for me. But there are some fantastic pizza restaurants in town: Katie’s, The Good Pie, National, Pi. They don’t serve St. Louis-style pizza, though.
I really love the English breakfast at The Mud House, and the spring rolls at Banh Mi So #1. Sometimes I’ll get some Vietnamese take-out there and go picnic by the fountain ruins in Tower Grove Park. Dressel’s has incredible food; I could eat lunch there every day. I love O’Connell’s, too — great bar fare, and within stumbling distance of home.
The best upscale meal I ever had here was at Farmhaus.
What kind of food do you eat at home?
I always helped my mom out around the kitchen growing up, but I really started loving to cook when I was in Florence, Italy, for six months during college. Six dudes who didn’t know each other all living in this small apartment, which was right across from the central food market. We decided to forgo the usual American burgers and take advantage of this amazing resource by learning how to make Italian food. Every morning, I’d have a shot of espresso and a blood orange for breakfast.
Since then, I’ve worked with Jeff Robtoy at the Bleeding Deacon and with Clara Moore at Local Harvest and picked up a lot of new techniques. I like to create my own dishes, based on whatever ingredients I pick up at the farmers’ market. My girlfriend will tell you even though the end result is usually good, sometimes those experiments are a miss.
Franco, 1535 S. Eighth St., Soulard, 314.436.2500, eatatfranco.com
Missed one of our Booze Doodles? You can check them all out here!