Two artists explore Brooklyn’s Bar in ‘Seeing Double’ at Sweet Lorraine

coney island brewery comic
Artists Bill Roundy and John Tebeau have joined forces to explore Brooklyn’s bar scene in a new exhibit, “Seeing Double.”
Illustration courtesy of Bill Roundy

An upcoming art exhibition in Red Hook will show illustrations of some of Brooklyn’s most popular watering holes through the perspectives of two different artists — Bill Roundy, a former Brooklyn Paper comic — and John Tebeau, illustrator of the book “Bars, Taverns and Dives New Yorkers Love.”

The exhibition, titled “Seeing Double,” will show a collection of paired prints at the Sweet Lorraine Gallery from both artists, who have both independently illustrated their different interpretations of famed and popular Brooklyn bars throughout their respective artistic careers. 

Roundy — the creator of the “Bar Scrawl” review comic which ran in the Brooklyn Paper from 2010 to 2020 — uses his comic prowess to illustrate his experiences at the various bars through sequential drawings, captions and text balloons. Tebeau’s artwork takes striking singular images of the exteriors of each establishment, using high-contrast colors and lines to create an overview of the location within the context of the neighborhood it resides in.

Together, the pieces allow viewers to get a well-rounded overview of each drinking establishment — the literal ins and outs of the operations — while showing how two different individuals can produce completely different works of art of the same subject.

The collaboration between Roundy and Tebeau was a result of running in similar artistic circles but, as Roundy told Brooklyn Paper, was ultimately “a series of serendipity.”

Comic of the Brooklyn Inn by Bill Roundy in Seeing Double
Roundy explores the interior of the classic Brooklyn Inn in one “Seeing Double” comic. Illustration courtesy of Bill Roundy
seeing double drawing of brooklyn inn exterior
Tebeau explores the exterior of the Brooklyn Inn with clean lines and few colors, highlighting the contrasting approaches he and Roundy took to capturing the same bar. Illustration courtesy of John Tebeau

“He has a long-standing series where he draws the outsides of bars and he published a book a couple of years ago, so I just knew him through that because we were both artists who were dealing with bars, we were gonna run into each other eventually,” said Roundy. “And so we did, but it turned out that I had actually drawn him like two years before — because if you look in the background of my review of Lucy’s Lounge, there are two figures who look just like John and his wife Colleen.”

The two artists formally while they were both renting studio space at the Treasure Island Art Studio in Red Hook before both showing their work at the Gowanus Open Studios event this year. Roundy ended up putting his pieces together next to Tebeau’s and one thing led to another, with the two organizing their upcoming “Seeing Double” exhibition with about a dozen bars the two have both drawn.

For Roundy, combining his love for drawing comics and his love of local bars was a natural progression of his art. He routinely visits new locations to review and illustrate, and said the exhibition serves as a bit of a love letter to the bars he’s frequented over the years — as well as a look into how the brains of two different artists operate.

“First it’s scouting it out, and I’ll look around and I’ll figure out what I want to say about it if there’s something interesting, and then I’ll figure out what the good angles are,” Roundy said. “If there’s something that’s really visually interesting, that’s great to draw, like there’s this place called Fiona’s Bar over in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and there’s a giant tree in the middle of the room with a stuffed owl in it and you just look at that and you’re like ‘Well, I have to draw that.’”

The “Seeing Double” opening reception is on Dec. 10 from 3-6 p.m. at Sweet Lorraine, 183 Lorraine St. between Clinton and Court streets in Red Hook, and the exhibition will be available for viewing upon appointment through Dec. 30. To learn more about the exhibit or to schedule a visit, email Bill Roundy at bill.roundy(@)gmail.com.