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: Figgy F*ckin Pop, a concoction of fresh fig-infused brandy, lemon juice, cranberry juice, Pinot Grigio and club soda, by the Silver Ballroom’s "Retox Center counselor" Andy Gosney
The Artist: Bryan Walsh, painter, co-owner (with Jenn Carter) of Cherokee Street’s Aisle 1 Gallery and co-founder of The Screwed Arts Collective. In high school, Walsh penciled cross-hatch-heavy photo-realistic portraits while listening to Led Zeppelin. Now in his 30s, his work has morphed into a combination of Abstract Expressionism and street art, while the music he listens to is spun by Hip Hop DJs with names like G-Wiz and Needles. Aisle 1 opened in 2011 after Walsh and Carter had worked for five years at the nearby ArtCollective. The former grocery store space has since featured paintings by 365 Days With Dad South City artist Cbabi Bayoc, and Made With Work images by Webster University visiting artist Tate Foley.
For Pride Week in June, Gender Bender photographs by Sara Swaty Rogers will be exhibited, and new works from Walsh’s own brushes will go up in August. He’s a creator, a curator — and also a collaborator in The Screwed Arts Collective, a group of nine young male artists who hung their first gigantic installation in the lobby space of the Regional Arts Commission on Delmar in 2008. By fastening 4’ x 8’ luan panels into the walls there they constructed a unique canvas punctuated by hardware, slathered paint all over it for ten days, and titled the sprawling end result Screwed In. The collective reprised the concept of this critically acclaimed piece at RAC in 2010 with Screwed Again. When asked what it was like to work with a bunch of guys who each has his own strong artistic vision, Walsh says, unequivocally, that they all played nice, and that the process felt like a visual jazz improvisation.
“It was great. The word was, ‘Anything goes, but if you cover something up, it’s gotta be better than what went before.’ And that’s what happened. We riffed off each other. There may have been some anger at times, but no one ever resorted to physical violence. Verbal and mental — maybe.”
What made you order the Figgy F*ckin Pop?
Walsh: It sounded like it would taste the best. I like figs. I’ve never actually heard any Iggy Pop, but I know he’s a punk rock icon. (This lack of exposure was soon remedied by popping a few quarters in the Silver Ballroom’s renowned jukebox to unleash “Gimme Danger.”) Usually I drink PBR.
What sort of restaurants do you like here in St. Louis?
W: There’s a place down by SLU we like, the Triumph Grill. It has a bunch of interesting stuff on the menu, and it’s all tasty. We eat at Mangia Italiano on South Grand a lot, too; it’s close to where we live, and the salads and pastas are really good.
What kind of food do you eat at home?
W: My girlfriend Jenn and I eat a lot of veggies and chicken and fish. She does 99.99 percent of the cooking. We don’t have a kitchen per se, but she can do amazing things with a toaster oven, microwave, electric skillet and rice cooker. We eat a lot of portabella mushrooms, potatoes and salmon. I don’t try to avoid red meat, exactly: when my dad’s barbecuing over in Belleville, Ill., I’ll eat his pork steaks because they’re really good. I just like the lighter stuff more.
Silver Ballroom, 4701 Morgan Ford Road, 314.832.9223, thesilverballroom.com
Check back next Friday for more Booze Doodles by St. Louis artists!