Table Manners: Turning Restaurant Stationery into Art
When New York-based artist Jay Batlle dines out, he’s still on the clock. Of course, he’s at the restaurant to feast and imbibe and commune with friends. Upon the meal’s consummation, however, he poses a question he’s been regularly asking restaurant staffers for the past decade. They oblige, and a blank sheet of the venue’s stationary is carefully placed in his hands. He’ll return home, and on it, in watercolor and pen and wine and coffee grounds, he’ll express his thoughts – on the evening, the atmosphere, the idea of decadence and societal consumption and what fine dining has become.
Batlle (pronounced “Battle”) chronicles this gastronomic collection, The Stationery Series, on his tumblr, Restaurant Restaurant. He eventually plans to turn it into a three-volume book, but he’s not stopping anytime soon. Here, we talk to the artist about New York cuisine, Balthazar, and pouring wine down the drain.