Is it about the garnish or the plate? Why we innovate instead of decorate.

 

I love the look of a well constructed plate of food. A drizzle here, a well placed parsley sprig there--it can be a piece of art in itself. And the anticipation it creates when those swirls of balsamic point right to the toasty bun.  But, no matter how beautifully adorned that lovely bistro burger is, in about 5 seconds the real test begins. If you get a mouthful of dry and tough, consider it a night ruined.

 

Adornment or transformation?

Adornment or transformation?

Oh no, bistro burger, I'll not fall for your juicy looks again. I paused with curiosity when the waiter told me about your caramelized delights, but you're just like the rest of them; you seduced me with your dressings only to leave me cold and wanting.

 

In the end, it’s not the garnish that counts.  And we knew it from the start.  So why are there 629,000 results when you search “how to plate food like a chef” on youtube? I’m reminded of the U2 song, Desire.  In fact I’m hearing it in my head right now...de-sii-ii-ii-i-err...

 

The Wanting

What are we trying to share in?

What are we trying to share in?

What pulled us in? What we saw incited our eyes...and increased our anticipation of...an experience.  But not just an experience for the eyes, otherwise the aesthetics of the piece would have sufficed for the night.  But even if all five of our senses were satisfied-- a beautiful setting, the perfect music, comfortable temperature, delicious smells and taste-- if not shared with other, I dare say the experience would feel lacking.  As it is, when friends return from a restaurant we always ask about what they ordered and then listen with rapt attention to their description.  What are we trying to share in as they describe their entree?

 

An experience cannot strictly be of a sensory nature.  So then what is it about?  Why do we flock to museums, national parks, concerts, theatre, if not to simply satisfy the senses? I would venture to say we are seeking a connection with something beyond ourselves.  It is the senses that are the portal; they are what allow us to experience the beauty that softens our heart to feeling and so allows us to move and be moved beyond ourselves in search of the Divine.

 Perhaps we are seeking a connection with something beyond ourselves.. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)

 Perhaps we are seeking a connection with something beyond ourselves.. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)

 

The Innovation

Art isn't an embellishment; it isn’t created to adorn a wall as embroidery does a dress. It must be more than a curiosity.  If someone looks at one of my paintings and isn't moved beyond appreciation of the aesthetics of the piece, I have failed.  I want to make something new, to take an individual experience and show it in such an innovative and new way that it causes a mid-course shift in direction of thought and the viewer is moved to a greater awareness of the collective human experience. It’s a mouthful,  but it’s true.  

Here I am working on a landscape based on a picture Russell took in Guatemala. This is the investigative stage, and sometimes the hardest part.  

Here I am working on a landscape based on a picture Russell took in Guatemala. This is the investigative stage, and sometimes the hardest part.  

 

The Plate We Serve

 

As the proverb goes, everything serves to make a meal, and we at nuKnoc know our way around a kitchen.    

We want to create new opportunities for people to experience a movement of the heart, one for the storyteller as they share their story and then see it told, and one for the viewer as they experience someone else's story in a new way.  

How do we do that? Through transposing a story into a piece of art.  We share a story in a new and transformative way by combining painting and drawing with artistic and innovative documentary film -making.

Russell playing with various camera settings and lighting, trying to set the right ambience for the story. 

Russell playing with various camera settings and lighting, trying to set the right ambience for the story. 

 

Why do we do this? Because we want to be transformed.  John Bastaire said "All things are open to the investigation of love."  We look at stories and are moved to love, and as we investigate them and retell them, we are transformed as well.  

 

Yes, all things serve to make a meal, but we want to make the best meal from all your things.  And a meal that can be experienced over and over.  That just takes investigation and a little artistic love. And, a little garnish doesn't hurt.  

Experience your story.  

Experience your story.