|"With A Twist" by Matt Talbert.|
We talked with fine artist Matt Talbert about his journey from Orange County to NYC and back, his graduation from red solo cups to proper jiggers and Boston shakers, and his upcoming art show at Neat Bar on Thursday March 1st at 5:30. Check out what he had to say:
Q: When did you realize you had a talent for art?
Matt: I started drawing when I was really young, before I can even remember. It was always encouraged by my parents and grandmother who was a painter herself.
Q: After studying art in Orange County at OCHSA and LCAD, you left the golden coast for NYC. What did you learn from your time there?
Matt: Being surrounded by fantastic museums and galleries, I was able to soak up some of the best artwork in the world. I worked at an art supply store on the edge of SoHo and was able to meet some interesting artists and walk to the galleries on my lunch break. The energy of the city was amazing and I was inspired on all fronts, from the beautiful architecture to the everyday man on the street.
Q: You ended up returning to your roots and moving back to Orange County. Did it give you a renewed view on this area?
Matt: It took some time to re-adjust back to California after living in such a high energy environment. I learned to actively seek out my interests more. The biggest difference is that I don’t limit myself to just Orange County. I look at LA and OC as one big metropolitan area and I go everywhere from Silver Lake to San Clemente, sometimes all in the same day.
Q: What spurred your interest in the craft cocktail movement?
Matt: Dale DeGroff’s “Craft of the Cocktail” book was definitely the beginning. Once I got that book I was making proper cocktails in a Boston shaker, rather than eyeballing Jack and cokes in a plastic cup. In 2008 on a trip back to NY my wife and I went to the Pegu Club. It was all over for me after that. I was hooked.
Q: When did that interest run over into your artwork?
Matt: I always try to paint what most interests me, whether it is a portrait or a NY street scene. Now it is my love of the craft cocktail movement. Finely crafted cocktails illustrated by classic oil paintings, both using only the finest materials. It just makes sense to me more than anything I’ve ever done.
Q: Do you plan on continuing this series (for lack of a better word maybe) of painting the craft cocktail movement or do you have other things in the works?
Matt: At this point I plan to continue painting the craft cocktail scene. There are so many different directions that I can take it, with so many different bars and cocktails to explore.
Q: Are you excited about your upcoming show at Neat?
Matt: I am extremely excited! I can’t wait to see all of the paintings hanging on the wall together. I couldn’t ask for a better host than Aidan Demarest and his crew at Neat. I am especially excited to have Bols Genever sponsoring the event, with Marcos Tello guest bartending.
Q: Think you'll ever trade in your paintbrushes and try your hand at bartending first hand?
Matt: As much as I like playing bartender at home, I think I’ll leave it to the experts at the bars. I need to keep some of the mystery of the what goes on behind the bar alive.
Q: If you were to be banished to a desert island with only one craft cocktail and one album, what would they be?
Matt: This is definitely the hardest questions so far. Hmm, I would probably go with a Sazerac and Weezer’s Blue Album. Is there a smoke monster on this island?
Q: When you're not painting what are you doing?
Matt: Traveling all over, always with my camera in hand. Watching some stand up comedy, preferably Paul F. Tompkins at the Largo. If I had more free time I would love to learn how to play the trumpet and the banjo.
Don't miss Matt and his amazing artwork paying homage to the craft cocktail at Neat Bar in Glendale on Thursday March 1 beginning at 5:30. The show is sponsored by Bols Genever and will feature guest bartender Marcos Tello.