Gratitude and a dive bar

'Drinking Dogs' Copyright Kate Forman 2005

Once upon a time I bartended. It was a real bar, if you know what I mean, no hipster irony, no froofy drink specials, it was the real deal. I made excellent tips, garnered quite a lot of invaluable life experience, and I listened to many stories.

Perhaps the most prolific patron I served was a man named Guy. And he told me the following story:

Once upon a time he was sat, as he often did, deep into his drink in a classic biker bar in Queens, New York. This would have been somewhere in the late ’80s. All was status quo: good music on the jukebox, big biker bartender keeping the lads in line, etc., when out of the glaring sunlight entered a three piece suit complaining of car trouble and asking to use the pay-phone and the men’s room. The bartender nodded affirmatively, and as the suit passed the bar he did the right thing – he ordered a drink: a Brandy Alexander.

The suit kept it moving to the mens room, and everyone else looked to watch the bartenders reaction. Nonplussed, he simply cracked open a budweiser and poured out a shot of jack. When the suit returned from the bathroom he was summarily handed his drinks. “Oh, no, I ordered a Brandy Alexander,” the suit said. “I know,” said the bartender, “that’s how I make them.”

I bring this story up because I’m becoming increasingly aware that my marketing plan is also about telling, as well as showing, what it is that I like to make, and how I make ’em. Happily, and with deep gratitude, this week I have four projects on my desk, and they’re all exactly the kind of assignments I like to work on — and for which I think my art is well suited to: community oriented, multi-culturally directed and color enthusiastic.

Importantly, I want art directors, art buyers and art patrons to know what to expect when they “order” from me, and to be thrilled with the results.

By the way, apparently the suit did his shot and drank his bud, much to the joy of the onlookers, and then was never seen or heard from again — though he did leave a hefty tip. Here’s my closing tip: I also want those lovely, receptive, and supportive art clients to come back for more and more: to be Kate Forman Illustration regulars.

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