Ostras e Coisas

In the centre of Porto there’s a seafood restaurant called Ostras e Coisas (it means Oysters and Things). The building used to be a tailor’s shop and workshop. I was commissioned to put pictures on the walls.

I thought about Portuguese traditions, of salted cod, and sardines and the tins they are packed in, and the history of the building where so many men’s jackets had been tailored over the years.

I decided to make a series of sardine paintings for the first floor, where the tailor’s workshop would have been.

The sardines are wearing jackets and packed inside their tins. Click on the picture to see the next one:

Years ago, the ground floor would have been the tailor’s shop. Now it’s an eating space, and the restaurant has big ice trays to display the days catch.

This is the room people enter, and for this space I decided to make a different set of paintings that were more about boats and being on the water. I decided to base them on the old song, “Row Row Row Your Boat”.

I wanted to make pictures that were peaceful and interesting to look at, with some nice small details people could spot. I imagined three scenarios where people were in rowing boats, enjoying themselves in their own way, in a bubble of their own time and space. This is how I like to feel when I’m painting.

To make the paintings interesting I tried to make the rowing boats more or less be in the shape of fish, with the oars suggesting fins, and objects in the boats being the fish’s eyes, lips, etc.

I wanted these three paintings to be looked at by people eating in the restaurant, and to suggest stories.

Click when you want to see the next painting:

OK David