Out Here, On Hiatus
Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going? These are questions I’ll explore here. More specifically, I’ll focus on my artistic practice – at least the one I maintained up until a few years ago – and how it relates to my drink-mixing craft/hospitality career, and moreover I’ll look at how these positions connect to my current entrepreneurial venture. (I’m opening a beverage house/snack bar – Grey Tiger – with my fiance, Becky.)
Side note: When I was eight-years-young, I decided that I would grow up to be two things: a bartender and an artist.
Until a few years ago (pre-hiatus), I maintained a hyperactive art practice – a sort of social convener-art director-raconteur-performance artist-hybrid. I juggled multiple projects simultaneously – complex collaborations which involved a lot of risk and uncertainty. I worked with little more than a week of rest between projects. These were challenging times. I also directed a space for a good part of this period – a gallery-clubhouse-studio-wormhole kind of operation. To pay the bills – aside from the occasional paid art gig – I bartended and waited tables.
Problem was – much as I loved this lifestyle – I was so focused on work, my personal life suffered greatly. Consequently, I had to walk away from it all for a while. I’d let my “personal life” slide and needed to regroup. Financially, too, I was spent. And I’d grown tired of doing projects on less than a shoestring budget. I was tired of sacrificing my own personal/emotional/financial wellbeing for the sake of creating life-altering experiences for other people. Community-building, collaboration, teamwork – especially the kind of super-DIY kind I was involved in – it’s tough work. So much as it’s full of beauty and fun and positivity, it’s fraught with disappointment, conflicting expectations and sore feelings. I needed to start giving back to myself. It was time for a change.
So I closed the artspace, let go of all the other projects, and decided to reevaluate my position. I didn’t want to give up art completely. And a big part of me still wanted to do what I loved most – facilitating intimacy, shaping social space, hosting and showing people a good time. What could I do?
After some thought, it was clear. There was another half of me, a part that was just waiting for me to grow it iinto something great. My bartender-self. I was a bartender to my core. There was tons of potential there for me to be creative and really take my childhood dream to new heights.
So I decided to focus more intently on becoming a more mindful bar-host and drink-mixer. Everything I really loved was there. Eating, drinking, socializing, stories, all the good stuff. I jumped right in – studying drinks history, technique, products, flavours, all that – and found a whole new world of possibility in the middle of a booming global cocktail revolution!
And now I’m opening Grey Tiger! …
I feel I just said a mouthful. And I only skimmed the surface. I’ll return later with a little update. We’re about a month-and-a-half away from opening – with the support of great friends and family. It’s exciting and scary and all kinds of WHAT? But most of all, it’s turning out to be an amazing journey. It’s a perfect opportunity to combine all my loves. Though I also recognize that it could very well be just as consuming as the world I left for hiatus. But this time I’m not alone in leading the charge.
Until next time, enjoy some pics from the Grey Tiger journey ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>
Demolition. Plans of attack.
Shadows of things happening.
Layers of time.
Detail of a mural we found behind a wall. We’re keeping it!