Wednesday, 14 August 2013


It has been over a year in the making. In this time its creator has moved house several times, survived a flood, had a number of haircuts but still not learned how to cook a turnip.

Whisky and Charcoal, a collection of drawings by Daniel Zalkus, is a pictorial documentation of his residency at here at Glenfiddich last summer.

Chicago based Zalkus practises a particular style of drawing known as reportage illustration. Passionate about his craft Daniel is also knowledgeable in its history. Artist reporting had its heyday in the 1950's and 60's when magazines such as Time and Fortune would send artists as correspondents to cover stories along side journalists and photographers. By capturing the moment through their 'on the spot drawing', the artist provided a different sense of dynamic to the published report. 

And so in this spirit, for Daniel time at Glenfiddich was spent very much out in the field. Working outside when dry or retreating to the Still House, Cooperage  or some other haven when wet, he quickly became a well known figure across the site. He was also highly productive producing 8 to 10 drawings a day. Quietly standing with one edge of his drawing board tucked into his belt, arm outstretched supporting the other, sketching away with charcoal pencils, he could literally melt into the background - had he not been wearing his hi-visibility cloak of all protecting safety of course. Despite the bright yellow vest Daniel's ubiquity was key to his practise allowing him almost become part of the fixtures and fittings. Allowing him the ability to observe without intrusion the working day of the employees he was capturing in charcoal.

In fact there was only one instance when an objection was made to his presence. This was by a very irate and overly protective herring gull, who had set up her nest in the chimney pot of the distillery office. This happened to be above the spot Daniel had chosen to stand while sketching the Glenfiddich kiln across the yard. Making her annoyance known in the way that herring gulls do, she repeated swooped at Daniel's head before moving on to the tactic of dive bombing. Daniel tried his best to defend himself with his drawing board but finally had to admit defeat. He was not able to finish the drawing till later in the summer when the gull had raised her brood and moved on.
Whisky and Charcoal contains a selection of these drawings which have now been reworked as colour images. 12 copies of the book, signed by the artist, are to be offered as prizes in a forthcoming twitter completion details of which will be coming very soon. In the meantime copies are available directly from the artist.


  1. Watch out for those seagulls! They get nasty if you're around their nests.

  2. For crying out loud Daniel, come visit NYC and Violet will teach you how to cook neeps.

  3. but meanwhile, congrats on the book!!