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: In A Pickle by Ted Kilgore of Taste — a combination of Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Velvet Falernum and lime juice muddled with dill and cucumber.
The Artist: Eric Woods, founder of The Firecracker Press, a blazingly popular graphic design studio and letterpress print shop on Cherokee Street with a vivid array of paper products created with an innovative mix of up-to-date and antique technologies. Originally from Cape Girardeau, Woods studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, then worked for a while as a book cover designer in New York before moving back to Missouri. In 2001, just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Woods returned from a honeymoon in China to find that he and everyone else in his St. Louis advertising agency had been laid off. So, he opened his own business. “The economy was terrible, but I’d been wanting to do letterpress printing for a long, long, time,” he says. “I'd met a guy here in town named Dick Niehaus, an old guy who's had a printing press in his garage since he was 14. He knows everything about printing, right? He helped me find my first machine on eBay. We're still using it. I've had to replace a spring or two, but that's it. The old presses are so well made, as long as we oil them and keep them clean and use them, they'll last. Just like an old car: Don't let them rust.”
What made you choose In A Pickle at Taste?
Woods: I craved it! My wife’s due to have our second child any day. She had some mini-contractions this morning. And here I am out boozing! Usually I drink whiskey, though. My sister Jennifer (with whom Woods publishes The Lumberyard, an acclaimed literary magazine) lives in Louisville; I’ve caught her enthusiasm for fine Kentucky bourbon. (The Woods welcomed their new baby boy, Wren, into their family on Tue., April 17, after the time of our interview.)
What sort of restaurants do you and your wife like here in St. Louis?
W: We have a 3-year-old daughter, so any place that serves macaroni and cheese is good. Now, “family friendly” is the word. During her last pregnancy, my wife began craving seafood for the first time in her life, and she hasn’t lost her taste for it. I’m happy about that because I love fish. Someday, I hope we’ll have the time and inclination to go to decent restaurants again.
What kind of food do you eat at home?
W: We have friends who will only eat fast stuff like chicken fingers and other foodie friends who work all day and then prepare elaborate organic farm-to-market meals when they get home. My wife and I fall somewhere in between those two extremes: we’re concerned about quality, and we like things that taste good, but the last thing either of us want to do after working all day is to cook. I’m ready to invent the food pill. This is typically what happens to me: I work, work, work, work, work until I’m starving, until I can’t think straight. Then all I want to do is to kill the hunger, so I can go back to work. I make bad decisions then. Bad McDonald’s decisions. So I need a food pill with all the good nutrition and fiber and stuff.
Check back next Friday for more Booze Doodles by St. Louis artists!