Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Monday, January 6, 2014

#50 "A Question Isn't Answered" January 12, 2012

(Click on the Image to Make it Wicked Big, Dudes.)

Who knows how this one started?
Actually, I think I know. Tim and I were working together one night and once the rush and flow of customers had died down to a trickle of thirsty bar regulars, we sat down on Table 8 with a couple of dupe pads. This was one of them. It's the same old story. In fact, that is kind of how all of these drawings got their start. I mean, these drawings start at all kinds of different points within the restaurant; some at the bar, some in the kitchen, some at the waiter station, but their history starts at Table 8. When I first started working at the restaurant, I drew pictures on that table every night, only minus the dupe pads. Long before Tim had a job there, me and the other waiters and waitresses would sit down at Table 8 and drink a beer and order some food. Back then, the kitchen would actually cook us dinner at about 11 o'clock. We would all sit down and split some escargot or a bowl of mussels, and eat and drink until all of the customers were gone and it was time for us to clean up and go home. In those days though, we didn't even bus the table, but would leave all of our empty glasses for the poor fool who was working the lunch shift the following day. Can you believe that? It's incredible to even think about it. And these were the days when you could still smoke in the restaurants in New York, so you know there were cigarette butts in everything. The smell alone must have been something else the next day. But that kind of thing was not only allowed, it was accepted by the people who had to clean it up! Granted, I was that person every once and a while, as I worked lunch a lot more back in those days when I was just a youngster and low on the totem pole. It wasn't until years later that the boss cracked down on us ordering food late night and making a mess on Table 8 that we didn't clean up. If we made a mess now, it was to be cleaned up before we left. That's only fair when you think about it. In fact, the old way seems incredibly disrespectful to whoever had to work the next day. But, "that was the way it was," and that mantra has left so many things in the restaurant the same way for years, for good or ill. However, back in those heady days of seemingly unlimited free food and booze, while we were sitting around discussing the finer points of life, I would sit on Table 8 and doodle on the table cloth. Well, not on the actual cloth, we have paper that is placed over the cloths so that they last a little longer than just one night. I'm sure you've seen a similar setup in some restaurant somewhere along the way. So, I would sit there and draw picture after picture on the butcher paper that covered the entire table. Sometimes they were really great drawings and I wanted to take them home and sometimes they were just a bunch of crap thrown together complete with butter and wine stains. I wish I had kept a couple of them, but for the most part, they are all gone now. Lost among all of the other lost things from those days. I can't remember any of them now, and at the time I never thought they were worth keeping, even the good ones. I might have a couple of the good ones around here in my apartment, but they're either buried in some box somewhere or they were tossed in all of my moves since I started working at the restaurant. At any rate, once Tim and I started in on the Triple Dupes, the drawings on the table cloth paper continued to feel unimportant next to the Dupe Pad drawings that would eventually be displayed here and on Bookface. In a way, they were the genesis of this project since there was a sort of collaboration with everyone sitting at the table, whether they were actively participating in the drawing, doodling at their own seat, or simply spilling some sort of food product onto the paper. Everyone contributed. Flash forward a couple of years and Tim and I are sitting on Table 8 with a couple of Dupe Pads in front of us and we're stumped on what to draw. So, instead of drawing something, we just covered this one with random marks and lines until it was busy with them. Then, for the next couple of days we found all of these characters and images within the lines we had slashed down on that first night at Table 8. The random chaos of those lines turned into this drawing that you see above this rambling paragraph. All of the lines eventually turned into shapes that the brain can read as recognizable things that seem to go together to create some sort of story. And it all got started right there on Table 8. Julian always wanted to write a book entitled, "Table 8" and have all of the crazy stories that were told there compiled into one, neat, hard covered book. I'm sad that never happened because I feel like now, as with the drawings, those stories have gone and moved on to the next phase, lingering only in the air around an unassuming table in Greenwich Village.

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