Terra Sigillata

i-ebe647e526aacfc34e2b85974dff31a6-Aldridge Pharmboys 515px copy.jpg

As I alluded in last week’s post, a friendship struck up with Australian wine writer, Philip White, led me to the outstanding artistry of George Grainger Aldridge. I asked Philip how I might engage Mr Aldridge in designing the official avatar for The Friday Fermentable series and he set me up with George. I sent George two, real-life photos of me appropriately enjoying a Thorpe Estates McLaren Vale Reserve Shiraz (as he is also in South Australia) and suggested that he read the blog a bit to get a feel for my personality. Within two weeks, Mr Aldridge sent me these three drawings.

I was absolutely ecstatic and amazed that a well-recognized artist halfway around the world could capture various aspects of my personality so accurately. I guess that’s why he’s a pro, eh? Anyway, I couldn’t wait to share these with you.

Now, I have to admit to liking each one for different reasons. But I ask you, Dear Reader, to vote in the comments as to your favorite drawing that best represents how we convey our love for wine (almost) every Friday.

George, you are the king – I hope that the devastatingly hot weather cools back a bit over the weekend and that all is otherwise well in Gawler. A cheque will be in the mail shortly.

And if you wish to commission Mr Aldridge with sketches that you desire, please feel free to e-mail him at aldridge_george [at] yahoo [DoT] com [dOt] au.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    February 5, 2009

    I like all three – they are awesome and you need to use them everywhere, perhaps as avatars – but my vote goes for #3 – looks like a Prefesser of Dangeral Studies!

  2. #2 DrugMonkey
    February 5, 2009

    I like #3 the best, #1 would be okay. not fond of #2 at all…..

  3. #3 chezjake
    February 5, 2009

    The body positioning in #2 is a bit perplexing, but I really like the facial expression. That raised eyebrow is both an invitation to join in the tasting and a hint of scientific curiosity.

    Needless to say, all three are very nicely drawn.

  4. #4 PalMD
    February 5, 2009

    for some reason i’m partial to number two.

  5. #5 Linda Gerstley
    February 5, 2009

    My vote goes to #3

  6. #6 george.w
    February 5, 2009

    #3 is my favorite, though either 1 or 2 are still awesome.

  7. #7 Isis the Scientist
    February 5, 2009

    Abel, you are one devastatingly handsome dude. #3 makes my teeth sweat.

  8. #8 baryogenesis
    February 6, 2009

    Any one is better than the funeral director portrait in the pharmacology poster on the left (although I do know some handsome funeral directors). No.1 seems a bit too wine-snobbish; no.2 is into his cups (and into Victorian pyjamas, or some such strange garb); so it’s got to be no.3!

  9. #9 skepoet
    February 6, 2009

    I’d go with two because it’s more visually interesting, if not slightly insane.

  10. #10 Abel Pharmboy
    February 6, 2009

    Thanks, folks! Keep ’em coming. I’ll tally up later and then also give the family totals as well unless they weigh in here as well.

    baryogenesis raises an interesting point – I told Mr Aldridge that I’m thinking of using one of these as my blog avatar as well (not just for this Friday feature). As I’ve begun to get invited for professional talks as a result of this blog, those who don’t know me are surprised when someone shows up about 25 years younger than the then-Dr Abel. I never really thought how much that photo might influence the reader into thinking I am of a different demographic than my 70-years-deceased ‘nym-sake.

    @Coturnix weighs in first – what a surprise!

    @Brother Drug – your choices remind me that I may care to stratify the results based on those who know me/have seen my real photo and those who don’t.

    @Linda – is your vote influenced by your tropical locale (and tropical beverages?)?

    @chezjake – a superb analysis

    @PalMD – you also drank wine with me – reminds me that I have to finish that Friday Fermentable Live! post from three weeks ago!

    @Isis, oh my dear and kind friend, come on, you must say that to all the boys – well, maybe except for Sol Rivlin and Dave.

    @george.w and skepoet – okey-dokey, thanks for the votes

    Oh, and while we’re at it, can I get a big “Booyah!” for the talented George Aldridge?!?

  11. #11 Danimal
    February 6, 2009

    They are all good. If I had to pick ordered best to least best, it would be 1, 3, then 2.

  12. #12 ScienceWoman
    February 6, 2009

    3, 1, 2…but they’re all pretty great. Thanks George for capturing Abel so well.

  13. #13 acmegirl
    February 6, 2009

    I like #3 the best – very cool, very beatnik. My second choice would be #1. I’m not as crazy about #2 in the full, but I agree with chezjake that the facial expression is excellent – maybe you could crop? Or would that be gauche?

  14. #14 PharmMom
    February 6, 2009

    We really like #1, then #3 and not #2 although he did catch the raised eyebrow. Talk with you soon.

  15. #15 Liz
    February 6, 2009

    Another vote for #3!

  16. #16 Kim
    February 6, 2009

    Oh, Number ONE!!!! Hands down! : D

  17. #17 Erin
    February 6, 2009

    #3, though I do like #2 as well…actually, all of them are great. Can you not rotate them?

  18. #18 Shell
    February 6, 2009

    I’m voting for #1. I like profile shots. I actually have #2 as my second choice. #3 comes off too serious for me.

  19. #19 jc
    February 6, 2009

    I also noticed the #2 pajama party look and wondered if that’s what went down at SciOnline09!?!?w00t!?
    For me, #2 paints the real pic of a scientist. You have your hand under your leg holding up your glass (like jumping through yet another freakin hoop just to sip some wine), balancing the wine bottle on one finger with style (since the other fingers are tired from writing that damn grant), and dancing in your pjs (instead of that stuffy-ass jacket)!
    #2 FTW.
    George – you are amazing!

  20. #20 Joe
    February 6, 2009

    Two is out. Three is better than one; though, it’s a tough call. I like Erin’s idea for rotation. Two could be used for the more fanciful posts.

  21. #21 Kelly
    February 6, 2009

    George rocks, these are great. I like nbr. 3 best. He has ‘tude 🙂

  22. #22 leigh
    February 6, 2009

    wow, what a talented artist! that’s very cool.

    i like #3.

  23. #23 Abel Pharmboy
    February 6, 2009

    Not to dampen our little party here but Philip White himself just authored an article in today’s Independent Weekly that surveys the disastrous heat currently hitting South Australian vineyards:


    Keep the votes coming for Mr Aldridge’s work – it’ll make me feel better to be sending some cash down South Australia way.

  24. #24 bill
    February 6, 2009

    I vote for #3, which I think looks and feels most like you.

    (I am another who was temporarily nonplussed on meeting you, having (unconsciously) expected someone much, much older.)

  25. #25 Skloot
    February 7, 2009

    OMG!! LOVE. THEM. #2 and #3 are definitely my favorites. I can’t imagine you ever being as serious or pompous as #1 … it’s a very good drawing, just doesn’t feel very you. #2 feels pretty you — it’s appropriately fun and goofy, #3 is you too, and quite cool, but … perhaps too cool? Is there such a thing? Not that you’re not Mr. Cool — you are, obviously — but #3 is perhaps a bit too … I don’t know … self consciously cool? I like the man-of-many-talents thing going on in #2 … Like, I can raise one eyebrow, balance a bottle on my finger, and drink from this glass under my leg, ala Globetrotter.

  26. #26 scribbler50
    February 7, 2009

    Drawing #3 is cool, Newport Jazz festival cool, but the shades take away any facial expression or personality. Drawing #2 has insect-like body language so that one I rate last. Without question #1 is the best. You’ve got the Jazz thing still going on, i.e. the cool thing, but we can see your eyes and more of who you are. Great renderings all but go with #1.

  27. #27 Abel Pharmboy
    February 7, 2009

    You people rock – can’t believe that Mom even weighed in. I’m also glad that Uncle Bill shared the view of baryogenesis that the Abel portrait misrepresent my relative youth (youth, HAHAHA!)

    It seems that #3 is in the lead but a strong contingent likes #2. PharmKid favored #3 also while PharmGirl favored #1. So much for agreement amongst the family.

    While purchasing last evening a bottle of Allouchery-Perseval, Tradition Brut, Champagne, France NV, I asked Wine Authorities co-owner, Seth Gross, to comment because 1) his operation displays superb graphics and 2) he is a fellow graduate of the University of Florida. Seth was drawn immediately to #3 but was put off by the aroma stream from the glass than invoked tobacco smoke, a big no-no even here in North Carolina. He liked #1 but thought that my nose was turned up just a bit too much as to be inconsistent with our inclusive view of wines. He also liked #2 but thought it was too busy.

    I will share with you that I am most of the mind of my colleague, Rebecca Skloot. #2 is the personality I most wish to be, has the raised eyebrow that my Mom recognizes as mine, and is sort of George’s channeling of Ralph Steadman. #3 is most representative of the photographs I sent George and, for those of you who know me, most likely to be your favorite. I have a real soft spot for #1 because it shows me from looking behind my shades – a nice metaphor for being a pseudonymous blogger whose identity is known rather widely. The swirling of the glass in #1 is also really, really cool.

    Bottom line is that I have ordered all three from Mr Aldridge for display at Ch. Pharmboy and will rotate the three through The Friday Fermentable, perhaps even including all three in each post to denote the views of each of my personalities with regard to wines tasted.

    Thank you each for registering your vote.

  28. #28 Skloot
    February 8, 2009

    Ooooh, I didn’t even think of the looking-from-behind-the-shades thing and its connection to the ‘nym … that’s cool, and you get it in both #1 and #2. I like the idea of rotating them. One more thing I like about #2 besides its man-of-many-talents thing is that by being in the rotation it says, I take myself seriously, but not that seriously.

  29. #29 DrugMonkey
    February 18, 2009

    One might note that if the undoubtedly lovely, brilliant and talented persons PharmGirl and PharmMom are in agreement the deal is sealed.

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