Sunday, December 8, 2019

An Abundant Life - Hand Crafted

The first time I tasted one of the craft brews from Departed Soles, I was at Antique Bar & Bakery in Hoboken for Thanksgiving. At the time I was writing a blog about the restaurant, and when I arrived to take photographs of Executive Chef Paul Gerard preparing the meal with his staff, he had one of the waitresses bring me a beer in a perfect glass. As I've written in these pages before, Chef Paul Gerard is the art of perfection himself in everything he creates, including the design in his restaurant and everything served in it. But at the time I was just getting to know him, and though I knew that if he had something in his restaurant it would be very good, I didn't yet fully understand that in order for it to be there it had to be extraordinary. I'm not much of a beer drinker when it comes to my own choice - I tend to like things with flavor and richness and depth, and many times the average beer that's available at bars and restaurants and events is just not that exciting to me, and so I opt for wine or even just water if average beer is all there is. But of course this was Antique Bar & Bakery where nothing is average and everything is outstanding, and part of the meal that day involved the carefully selected craft brews from Departed Soles. I don't know what I had that day because it was brought to me at my table, but it was one of the most delicious beers I've had and it was memorable. The meal itself was exquisite and the best Thanksgiving dinner I've ever had, my own favorites made with the skill and perfection that Chef Paul Gerard always exhibits. I wrote about that meal in my blog, and afterward had it in my mind that I wanted to find Departed Soles, and then one day when I was planning to pick up some craft beer to share with a craft brew aficionado friend who was coming to town, I stopped by Bucket & Bay at 150 Bay Street in Jersey City for a scoop of gelato, and noticed the sign for Departed Soles next door and the rest as they say is history.

Departed Soles beer is beyond any that I've ever tried, and because of my aficionado friend I've had access to some exceptional craft and local brews from many different areas over the years. The Brewmaster Brian Kulbacki is always busy dreaming up and creating fun, inventive and superbly delicious blends of ingredients and flavors, and he has also created the first New Jersey Craft Beer with 100% Gluten free ingredients. On a daily basis they have so many different varieties, and though I have my favorites I'm always trying and discovering something new. Every batch they make is able to please the most discerning palates, and they also make sure that they're creating richly flavorful brews that anyone could love. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and with the help of Brant who I met on that first day and have relied on the advice of ever after, I was able to find several brews that my friend enjoyed so much that when she came back to town for another visit she asked if we could go there. Having such an amazing place as part of the regular every day life of Jersey City has added to what I already have seen and experienced before - Jersey City Rocks and the people and places there add up to a culinary and creative adventure like no other.

Departed Soles Brewing Company
150 Bay Street
Jersey City, New Jersey

Artwork By New Jersey Artist MustArt

 A Taste Of Departed Soles At Home

And Away From Home
Paired With Misunderstood Whiskey


Perfect In Any Season


Jannie Susan

Sunday, December 1, 2019

An Abundant Life - Sense Memory

Danilo Peguero is an Artist, Portrait Painter, and Art Professor from the Dominican Republic who I met recently at ESKFF, the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, where he was part of the Residency Program this fall. When I first met him, it was before the celebratory dinner for the Residents and invited guests, and I didn't have a chance to see his work until a few weeks later at the closing celebration. On that afternoon when I visited, I stopped by his studio and introduced myself, and the first piece that caught my eye was on the wall near the entrance to his space. It was a large painting, very colorful, with lines and shapes that made up two major figures, a boy and a donkey in a style that echoed other painters like Picasso and Matisse whose work I love, but that was entirely something new and vital that I had never seen before. When I asked him about the painting, he told me a story about his son who had been given a donkey to care for, and while Danilo was traveling and was away from his family, he had been hearing about the love his son had for the animal and how much he was enjoying taking care of it and learning about the life of it that Danilo decided to create the painting for his son to connect with him and in some way create a bond of being a part of his son's experience though they were apart. It was a simple story, but there was something in the way that he told it and in the life of the painting that brought a feeling to me of the love and care and joy that Danilo felt for his son and the sweetness of the experience of a child learning how to care for and nurture an animal and by extension the connection and bond that was being nurtured for the natural world.

When I walked into the studio and began to look at the other pieces, I knew immediately that I was seeing something extraordinary. As we spoke, Danilo told me that he was a portrait painter and he showed me some of those pieces in photographs in his portfolio. He is highly skilled, having studied in the National School of Fine Arts in the Dominican Republic and graduating as an Art Professor, he later made political cartoons for Cachafú and sports cartoons for the newspaper El Caribe, also working as Art Director, Cartoonist and Illustrator in several Advertising Agencies in Santo Domingo and New York. He has designed many record covers for the Hispanic market in New York, and also worked for GTE Páginas Amarillas in the Dominican Republic, starting as Art Supervisor and later becoming Production Manager. He studied portrait painting with private teachers in New York in the 1980's, and the portraits he creates are very beautiful and have a sense of life and vitality to them that is found in the work of painters who have a very strong sensitivity to the emotional life of their subjects.

The work that he created in his ESKFF Residency is completely different in style, modern and somewhat surrealistic it still maintains the integrity of a classically trained Artist in its form and balance and composition while opening up the imagination and vision with colors and images and shapes that give life to what could be dream sequences, memories or interpretations and projections of events and ideas from every day life. It is hard to say what is the most entrancing about Danilo's work - the juxtaposition of colors, or shapes that have a bolder and more vivid echo of Juan Gris, or the stark imagery and haunting characters that are reminiscent of Goya, or Velázquez and Picasso whose reflected interpretations of "Las Meninas" he was reinterpreting at the suggestion of Eileen Kaminsky in his own style that is even more dreamlike while still being visceral in the way that lucid dreams are.

I introduced Danilo to the Gallerist Paul Calendrillo because I knew that the work was something new and exciting in the way that work that comes from a deep place of sensitivity can be. There is so much in Danilo Peguero's pieces and all of it great, and I'm looking forward to seeing where his imagination, vision and skill will lead him, and his audience, next.

Danilo Peguero
At The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF)
Fall Residency Program
At Mana Contemporary
888 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey

A Story Of His Son And His Donkey

A Meeting With Gallerist Paul Calendrillo

His Personal Vision Of "Las Meninas"

Self Portrait In Front Of A Mirror


Jannie Susan