Friday, February 18, 2011

See Food

(Please click on photos to enlarge.)
Hanks Seafood, Charleston. My frieze is in here!

I just finished reading Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas Mc Namee. It came out a few years ago but my sister just gave it to me for my birthday recently and I ate it up like a scrumptious clafoutis.

studio view
studio view
The first time I visited San Francisco as an adult I offered to take my host to dinner toward the end of my stay. "Anywhere" I said. As luck would have it we grabbed a reservation within just about 24 hours. The normal time lag for garnering a table at Chez Panisse is often a month or months but I was blithely unaware. The specialness of Chez Panisse was unknown to me. This was 1988. Since then I've been there more times than I can remember so it should be apparent that I "got it".

My frieze installed
Now anyone who visits a good restaurant in the U.S. is likely benefiting to some degree from the Chez Panisse effect. Charleston, South Carolina has become something of a foodie town. (Alice does not approve of that term: foodie. I like it fine.) There are so many good restaurants there and I'm happy to have my work in a couple of them. When I painted the frieze for Hanks Seafood I was definitely thinking of food, good food. My palette was meant to suggest freshly boiled lobster, raw oysters, creamy seafood bisque, you know, yummy.

Hanks interior showing my frieze.

Hanks interior showing my frieze.

Hanks Seafood waiters waiting to serve you.

I had some fun painting the frieze and it was sort of a surprise to me. I assemble the ingredients: the imagery, the palette, and the materials and just started painting with no preparatory sketches. I think this is sort of the way Alice works. You take really good ingredients and put them together without a lot of fuss. I followed that other Waters dictate too: use local. The background imagery comes from sea charts of the low country and many of the fish depicted are served in the restaurant.

Have you eaten yet?


  1. Scott a great story and your frieze is perfect!

    Art by Karena

  2. Thanks Karena!

    I did this about ten years ago but I visited it recently. It still looks pretty good.

  3. scott, I've eaten there several times - it's a favorite. I had no idea that work was yours. Hope I'll return there in a few months - look forward to checking your work out anew...


  4. Donna, I'm actually going to be in Charleston March 12, 13, 14. I'm going to see my clients out on Wadmalaw and photograph that project, my largest mural to date.

    see also:

  5. A fabulous frieze! __ The Devoted Classicist

  6. Your frieze is great! I like that the colors you've used do bring out the feel of old maps, foxing and all! For me, atmosphere has always been as important to the dining experience as the food.

  7. Thanks Mark! Hanks is lovely if a bit loud. In fact I'd probably put quiet at the top of the list for atmosphere. Btw I didn't actually have "old" in mind when I painted the map -more expressionistic.

  8. Perfect for the space and the coloring is right on.
    Looks like the catch of the day or and is still going strong after 10 yrs!

  9. L. Thanks so much! Fresh today yet I made it a little retro by using advertising motifs from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.


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