A Triple Threat of Awesome
Collaboration between artforms is a beautiful thing. It helps build a more vibrant culture for our communities and is a catalyst for even more creative partnerships. One of these collaborations has knocked my socks off, and that is an interdisciplinary artist and muralist Durkish Delights working with the unique and contemporary Noodz, a restaurant in Manchester. The triple threat that is going to fill your eyes and tummies up to the brim with greatness is:
- A stunning mural Durkish Delights designed and painted on an interior wall at Noodz.
- An opening reception of captivating art by Durkish Delights in the restaurant on March 7th from 7:00p to 2:00a.
- The exquisite food that Noodz has carefully crafted throughout their menu.
That is a lot of amazingness in one paragraph, so let me break it down.
Durkish Delights is Mike Durkee. He is a graphic artist, muralist, video maker, and content creator, AKA an interdisciplinary artist. His style is bold, colorful, modern, and playful. He has been a maker his whole life and exudes creativity.
Mike himself has a magnetism as he talks about art and how to make things happen, so when I heard he had connected with Noodz to create a mural for them, I was not surprised. Followers of Durkish Delights on social media and patrons of Noodz both got to see the mural progress and unfold in real-time. Mike worked on the mural when the restaurant was open, giving folks the opportunity to see an artist at work; he also posted progress images and videos on Instagram. Mike remembers how that felt, being on display while working, stating:
“It was definitely nerve-racking at first because I had never created a piece of art that large and I wasn’t sure what sort of obstacles to look out for. Once it started to come together it was really just fun. Some of the best moments were hearing people’s reactions behind me when they walked in or sat down for their meal.”
The mural itself reflects the atmosphere of Noodz in a style only Durkish Delights could create, depicting a symphony of noodles flowing in a very soothing color palette with tools used to make and eat the food sprinkled throughout the design. I am so eager to go see it in person, which I will be doing on March 7th at the Durkish Delights opening artist’s reception.
The artwork that will be on display will be featuring a selection from Durkish Delights current collection of digital collage. Mike explains further:
“The pieces that I’m showing are constructed from all sorts of found objects and photos. I collect weird trinkets, books, photos and strange oddities that I find in my travels. These digital prints that I create get mounted onto big fat wood canvases and then I rough ’em up a little. I like to distress my pieces with various tools and different grades of sandpaper. I want them to feel worn. I create a good deal of distress and distortion digitally when I create the work. I love mixing it and blurring the line with actual scuff marks and scratches.”
The texture, colors, and patterns throughout Mike’s work emit a monumental feel. They are somehow retro and futuristic at the same time. Based on the hints of this collection through his social media, I can see right away this show is going to be epic.
When you think about going to an art opening, you expect a bit of food to be available, but that certainly is not a key drawing point for the event. You may nibble on a piece of cheese or have a few grapes, and is a pretty mindless tradition of an art opening. Well not this opening, my friends. Feast your eyes… and your tummies!
Noodz offers a wide range of authentic Asian Street Food, serving ramen noodles (with homemade noodles mind you), bao buns, dumplings, rice bowls, sweets, canned craft beers, and more. If you’ve been before, you probably don’t need me to tell you the food is straight-up heaven. If you haven’t been before, this food is straight-up heaven. I can’t recommend it enough and I’m a sucker for street food. What better way to celebrate the work of an innovative artist with food that is itself a work of art.
Located at 968 Elm St in Manchester, Noodz lets you enjoy this cuisine in an industrial atmosphere that you wouldn’t always expect to see in New Hampshire. Noodz General Manager Jeremy Lepage explains how the desire to collaborate with artists like Durkish Delights originated from the atmosphere of the space:
“We had been bouncing ideas around since we opened a year ago about what to do with all the space in Noodz. It’s modern and industrial, with lots of space and exposed, high ceilings. I spent a decade or so in Manhattan and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the industrial gallery spaces that are hidden throughout Brooklyn. The bar and restaurant scenes in those types of metropolitan areas have really embraced the value of visual arts in the entertainment and night-life industries. I think inherently it’s harder to pull something like that off in a smaller town or city, but Manchester is unique in having a college campus dedicated to education in the arts. Add that to the fact that we have been trying to find a way to connect with the community around us I really started thinking that we could try and tap into the arts like live venues do with music.”
How These Ingredients Came Together
So it was clear Noodz was on a mission to make art happen in their space. They just needed to find the right ingredients. Jeremy told me how this happened:
“In November I took over as the GM and I met Mike through one of my employees, Chris. To be honest with you, I never talked to anyone else before commissioning Durkee to design and create our mural. Mike has an infectious energy and genuine excitement for creating his art. His work is really diverse and unique and everything that I looked at fit perfectly with the brand here. Mike, Chris and I started talking about really trying to introduce art here as a gallery space that would feature local artists and using that as a connection to the art institute. Mike was gracious enough to volunteer to be our first resident here. His digital work looks like it was made specifically for our space and, although you wouldn’t instinctively think it came from the same artist as our mural, we are ecstatic that we can show off his pieces and his mural side by side. More and more we are seeing the food industry gaining recognition as an art form. Culinary professionals, restaurant-goers, and food lovers in general are very visual and I think focusing on the visual arts here Noodz is going to be a natural fit.”
Creative partnerships like this one can launch an arts district, gives opportunities for folks to experience a new art form while they were being drawn in by the other, and inspires other community-enhancing elements to rise up.
I am already planning what meal I’ll be ordering at Noodz on March 7th and look forward to seeing the work Durkish Delights has produced in person.
Check out more information on the Durkish Delights Opening Artist Reception at Noodz on Saturday, March 7th from 7:00p to 2:00a at their Facebook event.