Introducing the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Posters
Robert Rodriguez has designed
the gorgeously iconic posters for Tales of the Cocktail
® for years. Time and again, the New Orleans native has sourced art
history, pop culture, and retro aesthetics to create memorable works of art.
Outside of Tales, he receives contracts from companies such as Benefit Cosmetics, Quaker Oats, and more to design art for such things as packaging, posters, and stamps. Here, Rodriguez divulges
the inspirations behind this year’s posters, which commemorate the 200th anniversary of Havana's El Floridita and the "Craft Your Future" tagline of the 15th Tales:
“Restaurante / Bar Floridita was Ernest Hemingway's favorite bar in Havana, Cuba, but it didn't become famous just because of Papa. It had opened in 1817 in the same location, and though it underwent several name changes, it was always popular. Its motto is "la cuna del daiquiri" (the cradle of the daiquiri) because the owner and cantinero Constante both invented and perfected the frozen daiquiri in the 1930's at El Floridita. So much history spans its 200-year existence, and it is still a favorite tourist destination.
When it was suggested that we do the Tales of the Cocktail poster to celebrate the 200th anniversary of El Floridita, I knew nothing about the bar. After my research, I realized there was so much to show in my poster. I actually painted one version before deciding it didn't get across the feeling that I wanted. I completely redesigned the art. Now the design is a blend of old postcards (the sort that might have said things like 'Greetings from Havana' with images of the city inside the letterforms) and old Cuban cigar box labels. The appearance of age in the art gives the feeling of something that has been around and seen many changes, while still being an exciting, vibrant entity today that looks forward to its next 200 years with anticipation.
The poster also shows the life-size bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway that stands next to his favorite seat at the bar, as well as its logo, exterior, and interior of El Floridita. There is also the statue that has stood behind the cash register for a very long time--as far as I can tell from photos taken back in Hemingway's day. We also have two of their most famous bartenders (cantineros) whose likenesses I put on medallions to honor them. And, of course, I painted the daiquiris being prepped on the bar. It was an honor to be a part of El Floridita's 200th year celebration. I hope my poster might become a part of their history, too."
Craft Your Future
“Well, this might not be the expected image of a bartender, but in my mind, I see the blacksmith as a symbol of the work ethic of the days of the WPA and the FWA. They were Crafting the Future, building the great cities of America, and having pride in their work. The future was bleak, but these men and women re-established themselves in rebuilding their country for a better tomorrow, as well as crafting their own futures. Maybe that is a little over-the-top with respect to bartenders, but I have rarely seen a group so dedicated to their craft since I began doing posters for Tales of the Cocktail. It is so exciting to find that mixologists are just as serious and just as consumed by their lifestyle. This is their art.
As the official cocktail this year is the Martini, the heroic smithy stands, symbolically crafting his perfect version under the lights of the mighty city. The clanging of his hammer may have been replaced by the clinking of glassware and the screech of traffic beyond the walls of the club, but dedication is still at the center of everything.”
Robert will be selling these posters during Tales of the Cocktail in the arcade of the Royal Sonesta.