Wednesday, November 5, 2014

the making of "breaking bread": attica creates a modern art & pop culture dining room at dine by design east

Breaking Bread - a dining display by Christopher Joyce and Suzanne Saul from Attica for Dine By Design East 2014
It's hard to believe that after all of these months of planning another Dine By Design East (DBDE) has just finished! This year marked the second annual DBDE, presented by East Coast Living Magazine. As co-founder with the magazine and Halifax decorator, Jonathan Legate, it's very gratifying to see the close of another successful event, which brought together so many talented designers and chefs, and so many wonderful volunteers. Our combined efforts mean that we're able to help send more design students to study at NSCAD University through the Amber Harkins Memorial Scholarship Fund.

We thought for our booth display that as we're NSCAD graduates, and because we're creating a dining room environment that helps to send someone to NSCAD, our intent would be to immerse the diner in modern art and pop culture. One wall is a tribute to Roy Lichtenstein, the other Andy Warhol, and the floor plays homage to Jackson Pollock. The wall made of burnt toast features Miley Cyrus, who is a current pop culture icon.

The back wall we dedicated to Andy Warhol, and instead of the 32 Campbell Soup cans he first exhibited, we decided to use 18 canvases to allow some breathing space as we had two large murals on the flanking walls. For fun, we made up our own names for the soup with Canadian East Coast themes, like "Cream of Fiddlehead", "Acadian Chicken Fricot", "Mussel Bouillabaisse" and "Moose Stew". 

Our most time-consuming project was to create an 8x10 mural inspired by pop artist Roy Lichenstein, who was known for his high impact, iconic graphics, and whose work often parodied comic book imagery. While his finished pieces look simple, we didn't really realize what we were in for! The most challenging aspect was producing the dot pattern. We experimented with spray painting and rolling paint over a template, but had problems with bleeding. All that was left for us to do was to roll up our sleeves and apply one dot at a time! Needless to say, it took many, many hours to do.

I must say that we were having many moments of anxiety working on this large mural. We were so worried that the woman in the mural was going to look like she had a bad sunburn, as we were unsure of the scale that we had chosen for the red dots of her skin. 

It wasn't until the black paint was applied that we were able to relax, as it seemed to magically tone down the redness of her skin. What a relief! For the text, we changed the original to say, "Oh, Jeff...I love it, too,'s not local".

 Next came the Miley Cyrus toast wall. My mom kindly helped us by spending eight hours drying out the bread in the oven and laying it out on tables to dry. Gluing the bread to panels was more difficult than we thought, as many of the pieces broke and had to be replaced. Also, some of the bread slices were a little squished so they were unusable.

Chris used a small blow torch for the fine shading on the face. With just a couple of days before setting up our booth display, and with still much to do, there wasn't much room for error!

Lastly, we were on to our Pollock inspired floor. With seven colours, and four and a half gallons later, the drip painted floor was done. We were skeptical, however, that the paint would be dry in time to set up our booth display.

Although we still think we need a few days more to recover from the intensity of it all, we had such a great experience. When we create an environment, we like to feel connected to it, and one of the best ways we know how is through having real art in the space, combined with great design!