Nashville-based cocktail guru Samir Osman, already well-known for using a cup as a canvas, recently refocused his artistic scope toward photography. His latest collection, Projecting, as the name implies, captures a juxtaposition of textures by projecting images onto human subjects. Both Osman’s print photography and bartending expertise will be on display in Asheville from Monday, Feb. 9, until Wednesday, Feb. 11.
“The main focus of all of my work is to make a deep personal connection with each person that I interact with — either across the bar or through a photograph,” says Osman. “I have dedicated my work to helping others see the beauty in all people and things — most importantly, themselves — and there’s no better way to do that than to really listen to them and deliver something unique and deeply personal.”
Event producer Mary Rich of Spirit Savvy Cocktails met Osman last summer on the recommendation of acclaimed folk rock musician Amos Lee. Impressed with his quality of artwork and resume of high-end city cocktail houses, she set her sights on identifying a temporary venue for Osman’s skill sets in Asheville. As it turns out, she found more than one.
Monday, Feb. 9
Guest bar tending at Sovereign Remedies
Osman’s classic martini hasn’t been sent back in almost two decades, according to the bartender, so cocktail enthusiasts will want to consider attending the mixologist’s initial Asheville appearance — a “startending” shift at Sovereign Remedies from 6 p.m. until close.
While Osman is certainly equipped to cup some of his fabled specialties (ask about shaken originals like “Pancho and Lefty” or “Tom Waits for No Man”), the talented nightcap purveyor has trained his ear as much as his palate, preferring to converse with customers about their individual likes and dislikes before whipping up a tailor-made beverage on demand.
“Anyone can be taught a menu and how to measure and shake or stir a drink,” he says, “but being able to create your clients deepest desires and feelings in a glass or a photo is a rare experience that I’ve spent decades working on.”
Tuesday, Feb. 10
Projecting photography opening at 5 Walnut
Downtown wine bar 5 Walnut will host Osman’s art opening, displaying Projecting prints throughout the space. Although the bartender won’t be mixing drinks, he’ll mingle with attendees interested in learning more about either of his crafts from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Osman says Projecting‘s originality makes it his most popular work.
“[Projecting] started when a friend of mine in San Fransisco wanted to do nude photos in a zebra mask for her wife’s birthday present,” recalls Osman. “I suggested we hire a body painter to paint zebra stripes on her body also, but that proved too expensive. So I improvised and got an old overhead projector and made my own transparencies from images I had captured, as well as illustrations, wallpaper patters, textures, etc. It was all downhill from there, and the series happened organically, as all my work does. Most of the time, I feel like the camera is using me instead of the other way around.”
Wednesday, Feb. 11
Individual photography sessions at Sovereign Remedies
Osman returns to Sovereign Remedies for his final showcase, a series of paid, one-on-one photography sessions. Individuals can book a tailored 30-minute photo shoot in the bar’s more intimate, upstairs area by contacting event organizer Mary Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessions are $75 each and include digital photo files as well as one 8-by-10-inch print. Appointments are available roughly from noon until 8 p.m.
“I let things develop as they will and trust the energy of the subject and the shoot itself to guide me,” says Osman. “To say I’m looking forward to indulging in my two biggest passions while turning the people of Asheville on to new and exciting things is a gross understatement.”