The Medium Makes the Artform

When visiting a museum, it’s easy to get lost in the art. There’s the picture, of course, then there’s the style –no mistaking a Monet for a Warhol or a Cezanne for a Botticelli. Artists understand that the importance of media is very personal, and almost part of their signature. Painters choose among oil paints, acrylics, water colors, and then decide whether these should be applied to canvas, wood, or uncured plaster as in a fresco.

Among sculptors perhaps the most elite are those who work with marble or granite, tediously chipping away everything that doesn’t belong in order to free the image from its stone prison. However, some amazing work has been done with clay, and, of course bronze. Modern sculptors may weld pieces of steel together in an additive style of sculpting, yielding some of the most thought provoking pieces.

Although I do not claim to be much of an artist, I nevertheless have a preferred medium that I have settled on after all these years.

I prefer cocktail napkins.

Although in a pinch I’ll use a regular paper napkin, cocktail napkins have a smoother surface, lending to a crisper finish, not to mention the fact that so long as your drink tab is open, they are generally provided for free.

While for writing, I prefer a fountain pen, such an instrument is virtually useless on a cocktail napkin resulting in unsightly blobs. While some prefer pencil, I find that insincere since an image can be adjusted. On the other hand, a fully committed artist never fails to use a ball point pen – the type with gel ink whenever possible.

Cocktail napkin art is best viewed in dim light; in the past this also could be enhanced by clouds of tobacco smoke, but that has fallen out of favor. Beer goggles enhance the view of the work of art in order to capture the frame of mind of the artist.

I have submitted the following for your enjoyment, although I had to compromise and use a standard paper napkin, and it was produced in the sober light of day. However, I do believe it is satisfactory for instructional purposes.


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