Bourbon & Birdies: What's In a Name?

I get the question a lot. Usually by someone walking by my booth, they pause, read my name, look at the birds, pause again, I see the wheels turning. Then they ask, “Where’s the bourbon?”

Bourbon in a Florida rocks glass

Bourbon & Birdies got its name shortly before I created my very first Facebook page, while I was sitting in a bar. Of course. Although I can’t recall with 100% certainty, I’m fairly sure I was sipping on a well-crafted Old Fashioned, telling my friends that I didn’t want my art business name to be something boring like “Kristen Summers Art.” It must have been the liquid inspiration from the rocks glass in front of me, but I stumbled upon Bourbon & Birdies. I liked the alliteration. As you do. I liked the juxtaposition of a hard liquor like bourbon, and all that it connotes, with the whimsy of a ridiculous word like “birdies.” I felt like the name summed up a lot about my personality and it stuck.

Bourbon became my drink of choice in college (when I was over 21, of course). My classmates in the School of Forestry were a bunch of lumberjacks. Southern boys that liked to hunt, spit tobacco, and drink Jack and ginger. When I first started classes, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was a Miami-girl with hot pink sunglasses and ripped skinny jeans. It was an unlikely friendship, but over the next two years, these lumberjacks became my family. My junior and senior year of college was spent in the woods, around a fire, with either a can of Coors Light or solo cup of Jack and Ginger (which were always consumed responsibly, of course).

After graduation, I moved from Gainesville to Tallahassee. I traded my hiking boots for high heels and work jeans for pencil skirts. As I grew and transitioned through law school, some habits died harder than others. My appreciation for a good bourbon was not one of them.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not blitzed when painting my birds. But I won’t deny that I may occasionally help myself to a couple fingers of bourbon to help start the creative process, and as a nod to the Kristen that spent a few good years around a campfire.