BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin and Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation hosted the 6th Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series Mural Unveiling for Grand Finale Winner and New Orleans’ artist Aron Belka in New York City.
We’ve been watching the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition for a few years now and always find ourselves in awe of the talent that comes out of it and the otherwise improbable connections it facilitates. For 2016, now in its 6th installment, it is Aron Belka, who works in New Orleans, who took home the national Grand Finale Winner. His award, initially presented at Art Basel Miami has lead him on a whirlwind tour and opportunities to work with other creatives, manifested through a partnership with Bombay Sapphire and Russell Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation. As if this wasn’t enough, part of Belka’s prize was the ability to work with Actress and Creative Mentor Rosario Dawson to construct a public mural in NYC, which was revealed on Lafayette Street.
Later, after the mural was shown, a cocktail reception at Public on Elizabeth Street commenced to honor of Aron Belka for being named the national Grand Finale Winner and the presentation of mural. Many friends celebrated with Aron, along with a mix of artists including Shantell Martin and local influencers. Guests chatted and enjoyed artfully crafted concoctions served throughout the evening including the drink, “Toussaint’s Jazz” – named after Belka’s award-winning work of art (recipes below). The Willerm Delisfort Quartet performed at the reception to honor Aron’s mural as well. We’ve discussed Aron’s work in the past:
[Belka] develops large-scale portrait works with a variety of instruments, including the edges of squeegee rollers, pencils, paintbrushes of all sizes and more to achieve varied and occasionally abstract works. Belka’s winning series was inspired by photographs his wife took while doing Ebola research in Sierra Leone, as she witnessed those touched by the fast-moving disease. His works are pure paint technique, no high concepts, no talking points to sell the ideas. They stand on their own as profound and spacious works, human reaction as impression.
Without a doubt, we appreciate Belka’s skill and the endeavors of Bombay Sapphire and look forward to the future of both Belka and the Artisan Series!
The celebration also commemorated the 7th Annual Artisan Series, where emerging talent can begin submitting their pieces on BombayArtisan.com. Great successes have come out of the program including 2012 Chicago finalist Hebru Brantley selling his finale piece to Jay Z for $20,000 during Art Basel.
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin
Passion Fruit Syrup
¾ ounces BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin
½ ounce lemon Juice
½ shot of simple Syrup
Top with Prosecco
Gin & Tonic
2 ounces BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin
4 ounces of premium tonic water
2 wedges of fresh lime