Mix alcohol and a smartphone, and at some point in the evening, there will probably be drunk-tweeting. But what if Twitter's blue bird mascot and his buddies had a cocktail party of their own? That's what San Francisco graphic artist Josh Ellingson pondered when he started his whimsical "Drunk Tweets" series of paintings.
"I've drawn characters drinking before, but I wanted to make the birds full-on inebriated," Ellingson told Crave. "A lot of my friends are pretty inspirational when they've had a few and I'd make mental notes while toasting to their health. Watching TV while cranking out paintings really helps keep me glued to the drawing table. I watched the Ken Burns' 'Prohibition' series while painting drunk birds. And yes, I've been watching back-to-back episodes of 'Cheers' on Netflix."
While Twitter's blue bird is the main character in this series of paintings, other birds, including buzzards, ducks, vultures, and owls, get in on the act. Which begs the question, which bird drinks the most?
"The owl is definitely the biggest drunk," Ellingson said. "Everybody wants the owl's advice because he's supposedly so wise. So owls get a lot of free drinks and they just end up hammered. Owls look like they can put down a lot of booze because of their puffiness but what people don't understand is that it's just feather weight. Take away all of those poofy feathers and you're left with one scrawny drunk bird, wise or not."
Ellingson regularly posts his boozy acrylic paint and pencil portraits on Instagram as he finishes them, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
"At first I wasn't sure that people would really care much if I missed a day or two, but some people comment that it makes their day and that feels great," he said. "I guess people can see themselves in my little drunk birds. I also post photos of the process in making them and I think some people really like that. In the end, it's kind of about the process of creating a body of work and learning new things as I go."
"I'm just constantly inspired by the Internet and always surprised what comes out of it," Ellingson added. "This whole series was really just a pet project that spun out of my obsession with Twitter and my appreciation of whiskey."