Message on a bottle: Art show pairs rhymers and rye - Brooklyn Paper

Message on a bottle: Art show pairs rhymers and rye

Cheers: Artist Andres Gallardo paints portraits of poets and writes their verse on old whikey bottles. These ones feature Alysia Harris, Aja Monet, and Andrea Gibson.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

This artist gets his inspiration from the bottle.

In his new exhibition at Brooklyn Fire Proof East in Williamsburg, Andres Gallardo is using whiskey bottles — mostly Jack Daniel’s — as his canvas, pairing them with poets’ portraits and excerpts of their work. A quote he once heard about whiskey being the ignition for artists served as the inspiration for the project.

“It was something along the lines of — as an artist, it being a gas to our internal flame,” said Gallardo of the liquor that has been the muse — and downfall — of many creative types.

The people celebrated in Gallardo’s July 12 show include poets from the TV One series “Verses and Flow,” which features contemporary spoken word and musical artists. They include Saul Williams, Andrea Gibson, Aja Monet, Joshua Bennett, and Rudy Francisco — many of whom Gallardo knows personally.

The five-by-five-inch portraits, created with acrylic and spray paints, were a change for Gallardo, who usually creates larger pieces. But working with weird canvases was nothing new for the mixed-media master. The artist has garnered press attention in the past for his unique scavenger hunts, in which he leaves his art works — often painted on vinyl records or other recycled household objects — around a particular city, and encourages his Twitter followers to find them.

“It could have been a painted door, chair, whatever,” said Gallardo. “From here to L.A. to Miami to Paris.”

This will be Gallardo’s second show in Brooklyn, and the Panamanian artist, who currently lives in Long Island, foresees a more permanent future here.

“Brooklyn is the dream,” he said. “Artistically, I think Brooklyn would be the ideal place for me.”

“Words in Whiskey” at Brooklyn Fireproof East [119 Ingraham St. between Porter and Knickerbocker avenues in Williamsburg, (347) 223–4211, www.brooklynfireproofeast.com], July 12 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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