“We’re calling the bar ‘Bird and Bear’.”
“What a brilliant name” I replied to Phil with a big smile, “so what’s their story?”
“We don’t know yet, but you like telling stories, would you like to come up with ours?”
Without even the slightest hesitation I said yes. What an opportunity. Before I knew it I was writing the story of Harold and Pip, the unlikely friends who came together and changed each other’s lives, and of those around them. As the words and ideas started to bounce around on my page drawings began to emerge on my drawing board too.
AJ and I worked together on bringing the tale of Harold and Pip into the bar, culminating in a gigantic hip hop party (which happens every weekend for their extremely popular Hip Hop @ Brunch).
Phil had a strong vision of what he wanted to create in the new bar. He knew what colour palette he wanted to use and what direction the decor should take, so when he asked if I would help with choosing paints, tiles and wallpapers I was in my element. The palette is one of my favourites, Victorian. It allows for those stunning copper finishes that he chose for the bar and furnishings and that hint of industrial in the exposed beams, pipes and pillars. Golden beetles dance around on beautiful deep blue walls in the stairwell leading up to views of Slessor Gardens, the River Tay and the V&A museum framed by original feature windows and yet more detailed papers, patterns and colour.
As long as I remember I have surrounded myself with plants and greenery and my flat is a bit of an indoor jungle, filled with curios and art that I have collected along the way. When Phil invited me to design the window display I immediately jumped at the chance of filling the space with beautiful big statement plants, bare sculptural bulbs and vintage birdcages.
The window ties in heavily with the story of Bird and Bear. Harold freed Pip from her cage, and her friends too, so the bird cages are those from the story. You will spot too, that every single cage is empty. The birds have all been freed by Harold and can be found dotted around the bar, in the beautiful vintage prints and also in the big hand painted mural in one of the cosiest corners. Spot Pip cosied up safe in Harold’s arms, joined by cheeky little Worm and Rita. If you look very carefully you may even spot Bob. He’s off exploring.
Detailed gold hanging dividers catch the eye and create cosy corners and nooks throughout the upstairs and downstairs spaces. I enjoy creating repeating patterns within my illustration work and was delighted to have the opportunity to use that element of my work in the bar.
The illustration work continued from the walls onto the menus…
… and then moved outside too, giving Harold and Pip one of the best views in town looking over Slessor Gardens in the heart of the new Dundee Waterfront.
I created separate assets of beautiful monstera and palm leaves leaves from my mural and window display that could be used on all the literature and as backgrounds to the main characters.
It’s great getting to collaborate with other creatives when working on projects, and for this one we worked with Creative Graffix who put together all the menus. I always enjoy seeing what graphic designers will do with my illustrations, often pushing them in directions I would never have considered.
Working with the team at Bird and Bear is like being part of a brilliant, passionate, creative and talented family.