Four B&A Artists Illuminate Your Lunchtime Chipotle Burrito
“Must a cup, or bag, suffer an existence that is limited to just one humble purpose, defined merely by its simple function?” is the question that Chipotle poses itself for their Cultivating Thought series of portable packaging. The chain restaurant taps authors and writers to surrender ideas for Chipotle’s customers to read and engage with when they’re sitting eating their burritos and tacos. Each writer’s piece is offered to a visual artist to bring it to life and this season Bernstein & Andriulli has four artists who were brought on to illustrate these big ideas. Harriet Russell imagined Mary Roach’s “Two-Minute Revelation,” Sarah J. Coleman (aka inkymole) brought Laura Hillenbrand’s “Two-Minute Ode to Chocolate” to life, Adam Hayes illustrated Jonathan Franzen’s “Two-Minute Driving Lesson,” and Dave Homer illuminated Sue Monk Kidd’s “Two minutes or Two Questions.”
The idea of the project really resonated with Harriet Russell, who sees a certain poetry in using these items that we usually don’t think twice about as a starting point for a deeper discussion. “The idea of using a bag or a cup as a canvas for visualising a story is a great one, and turns something that is usually a throwaway item into something really special and thought provoking,” says Harriet. Dave Homer felt a similar excitement for the project, not least of which because it was with Chipotle. “To be asked to participate in this Chipotle project was really exciting,” says Dave. “Such a beautifully simple idea of combining a short piece of great writing, with an illustrated interpretation was really interesting to me.” The illustrations help engage the reader on different levels from the text, ultimately creating an immersive experience on the side of a cup.
With so many different artists come many different processes. We’ve included the artwork from each artist in varying formats dependent upon their process. Adam Hayes’ process included reading Jonathan Franzen’s piece over and over. “I drew up lots of quick ideas with a pencil over the text whilst reading and re-reading it; many of those first visuals ended up in the final artwork,” says Adam. Each artist has their own way of working, but each of their methods brought them to a completed product Chipotle bag or cup.
For an artist, it’s not only a thrill to engage these products from this new direction, but also to be involved with a company as big as Chipotle who is making an active push to change the way we see fast food. “I LOVE Chipotle,” extolls Adam Hayes. “It’s my go-to lunch spot whenever I’m in New York or in London. (If only they’d open a branch here in Abergavenny, Wales.) It feels good to have my illustrations as part of a food company that’s doing things properly.” For Sarah Coleman, the choice of Laura Hillenbrand’s Ode to Chocolate was particularly personal. “Having been vegan for 18 years and having spent most of my adult life striving to make ethically appropriate buying choices - which has sometimes, historically, made life tricky and more expensive - the whole piece of prose was spookily appropriate for me.”
Few things in this world are as personal as food, and few relationships are as important as with what one decides to put into their body and nourish themselves. But any artist will tell you, their relationship with expression is equal to that – or in some cases, even more intense. Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought series brings that to life and thanks to these artists you can take a bite. Bon appetit.