This summer we are excited to debut our reusable Burnside Beer Mugs.
As a special thank you gift to everyone who makes a donation to the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy of $25 or more, you will get your very own reusable Burnside Beer Mug as our way of saying thank you for your generosity. The mug isn’t even the best part! Every time you fill your beer mug at Trinity Brewhouse Beer Garden, you will get 4 extra ounces of beer for the same price. So really, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, all summer long.
Each mug features the face of our park’s namesake, General Burnside, drawn by local artist, Alec Thibodeau. We sat down with Alec to learn a little more about his process and his artwork.
Historical figures often carry problematic elements in their biographies (Lovecraft’s racism, for instance). From an aesthetic standpoint what’s intriguing to me about using early black and white photographic portraits as reference imagery is their tendency toward compositional formality. People hadn’t yet explored all the ways they could behave in front of a camera: like communicating emotional information… or misinformation. They sat still, probably at the photographer’s direction in consideration of slower camera shutter speeds. This is true for Burnside’s time – so referencing one of his photos for a drawing means scrutinizing a relatively neutral countenance for clues to his temperament. And this interpretive task can push a drawing into unexpected directions. Toward the end of Lovecraft’s life, smaller and faster cameras had begun to expand photography as a creative medium. There’s a photo of him and two other writers against a wall with their lengthened shadows behind them… clearly influenced by recent trends in Expressionism.
I work from a home studio. My process is varied, depending on the project. Last year while preparing for a solo gallery show I converted my studio into a space for making sculptures. For drawings I use dip pens and bottles of India to create reproducible line art – a practice I started during my experimentations in printmaking. Most of these drawings end up on illustration board, including the Burnside portrait.
My partner Deb Dormody initiated the Music Series in Burnside Park several years ago. During those early seasons I helped out on occasion with hospitality for out-of-town musicians. Some favorite bands I’ve seen play there have been Javelin, Death Vessel, The Mansfield Hornets, Extra Golden, Nomo and Providence Research Ensemble. And my band String Builder performed there last summer (fun until the rain started!).