Dozfy: Serving up visual delicacies
Dozfy’s art does not live on walls. His inky scribblings of creatures, landscapes and flora live on coasters, napkins, plates, menus and to-go cups. They don’t go to the highest bidder, either. In fact, they’re generally free.
He calls his portable work “menuart” - an accessible art form that allows him to connect with people who might not frequent galleries or exhibits. He scrawls everything from octopi with undulating tentacles to stoic elm trees to bird’s-eye cityscapes, all served up on the most unlikely of canvases.
Like many of us, Dozfy began doodling in high school class. As his craft matured, he traded in a career in science to study art full-time at the University of Texas Austin.
“I was an engineering major first, then switched to chemistry,” said Dozfy. “Then I thought, ‘what the heck, I’m going to do the art thing.’”
And the art thing he does. Dozfy’s meticulous black-and-white illustrations visually extend the experience of the meal. He toys with using relief on white spaces to evoke fullness. He draws elaborate culinary interpretations on napkins that would have otherwise ended up in a bus bin.
Using restaurants as art studios has influenced his artistic decisions beyond his canvas choices.
“When I paint I use a lot of color,” said Dozfy. “It’s only because of the time limit at the restaurant that I limit myself to black and white.”
Much like the spectacle of watching someone cook, Dozfy enjoys the theater of menuart. Dozfy hosts dinner experiences where he creates menuart live while featuring a variety of cuisines from Seattle-area restaurants. Each guest leaves with a one-of-a-kind piece and a belly full of local grub.
“Menuart is a process,” said Dozfy. “[At these dinners], I make a personalized menu for each person. I take them on a journey, showing them how many tools I use to make the art. I tell them about the history of menuart. I want people to feel comfortable. They come in thinking about menu art but they leave feeling like they had dinner with a friend.”
For the most part, though, Dozfy’s pieces go back to the culinary artists that inspired him.
“I’ll always ask the waitress to give my art to the staff. You don’t get to see their reaction but that’s also a fun part for me. That satisfaction of giving someone something they take joy in.”
Dozfy is the alter-ego of Seattle-based illustrator and portrait artist Patrick Nguyen. His drawings have led to smiles, restaurant collaborations and curated dinner demonstrations. Beyond menuart, his larger-scale portfolio includes a floating twenty-foot prosciutto cut painting at Bellevue’s Lincoln Square, chalkboard roosters at Salare and a blown-up oyster mural that looks ripped straight from a zoology textbook. Learn more about Dozfy at dozfy.net.
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