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|KC Eats & Greets Trey Bryan at Aixios|
Sitting outside of French restaurant and bar Aixios in Brookside, I know spring is in the air.
I’ll tell you what isn't in the air, though. A man crush.
Nope, this is not a man crush, not at all. It is merely an independent objective observation with a pinch of subjective seasoning.
Simple conclusion: Visual artist Trey Bryan is poised for stardom.
Forget the curly-boy locks, the matinee-idol looks and the simple, effortless, humble charm---not to mention an assertive artistic spirit.
Forget all that, I say!
That’s not why Trey Bryan is destined for the firmament.
Quite frankly, he has “it” because he says "artist" without speaking.
In other words, he's still willing to be prolific enough to fail and get better simultaneously. He’s still willing, to put it another way. He’ll draw anything and anyone at a moment’s notice if it strikes his fancy. He’ll draw Occupiers on Wall Street, people sitting in a restaurant, horses. Every subject is still important in his eyes.
He’ll draw for food as he did here at Chez Elle: Crepes = Postcards.
“I’m not a foodie, though. Food is a utility. It gets me through the day, that’s it,” he says chewing on a simple ham and cheese sandwich and watching the joggers, studying the trees, looking as if he’d rather be drawing something than talking.
We both agree that Aixios is a among the best French bistros in the city and looks and feels like a bistro. Ambience is important---the gray block stone, the railroad-style set up with the dark wood paneling and, of course, the patio.
As we start in on a chat, I make a faux paus with my order.
You see, I’m eyeing the pan bagnat, imported tuna marinated in olive oil and served “Provençale,” meaning in the style and tradition of the epicenter of the western bistro: Provence, France. Sounds good, right?
I skip that, still scanning.
Next up, mozzarella et tomate, roasted red peppers and puffy, frothy buffalo Mozarella cheese that sits on the bread like it invented sitting. But do I get that? No.
The worst mistake is to play it safe: Fish and chips at is what I order at a French bistro.
“People ask me if the Hotel Phillips gives me a free room and I stay there for free and draw people. It’s not that type of deal,” says Bryan of his new appointment as the artist in residence for Hotel Phillips. “It’s more like a drawn-out narrative, creating in real time, trying to capture moods of travelers, staff and just people being people in a way that’s mutually beneficial."
Drawing people at a hotel takes patience, as does justifying your existence to potential subjects.
“Sometimes people don’t like the idea of being drawn. Sometimes I give them what I draw for free---people’s eyes light up because it’s like someone’s seeing them for real. That’s a good feeling for me, that’s the gratification right there,” he says.
And these aren't wide-eyed boardwalk caricatures. With Bryan's pictorals there are contours, detail, emotion and a rustic wit that comes with Bryan’s work. That he does it quick makes it that much more profound.
Meanwhile, the verdict is in: The chips are good, but the fish isn’t cutting it. It's not horrible, mind you, it's just not good. A little gamey and way too much breading. My idea of fish and chips, I explain to Bryan, is a bubbly beer-battered and warped cod wrapped in newspaper, in a Picasso-esque caress with the salty soft chips known in America as French Fries (and in France as pommes frites. Go figure.).
But that's my fault, for playing it safe. Bryan says he'll never play it safe in art.
“You don’t get ahead without talking to people,” he explains. “And you have to continue to ask questions and make requests. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no,’ and that’s not that bad.”
I’ll tell you what else isn’t bad: the vanilla ice cream and pastry parfait with chocolate sauce that’s placed in front of me as compensation for my fish faux pas.
But this post isn’t about man crushes. Just thought I’d remind you.