Melbourne bartender Matthew Bax has been shortlisted for the $25,000 Patrón 60 Hands – Pay It Forward grant, which gives back to community and grassroots craftspeople.
Bax is the founder of Grau Projekt, which intersects arts and hospitality with artist-curated drinks.
Each Grau Projekt show is celebrated with a one-off cocktail created by his team in collaboration with the artist.
Bax is also known for his other ventures, including Melbourne’s Bar Americano, and the internationally renowned former bar Der Raum.
The bartender knows all too well how devastating the events of 2020 have been to the arts and hospitality industries, with his bar being closed since March, and three of his art shows, including Matthew’s first LA show, being cancelled.
“I’m delighted to be shortlisted for this grant, which would help me to keep pushing ahead in these creative fields of hospitality and the arts,” Bax said.
“If I am the recipient, it would mean the difference between just postponing my exhibition versus the entire exhibition opportunity being cancelled.”
PATRÓN Tequila pays it forward
PATRÓN 60 Hands – Pay It Forward involved a national call out to those in the handmade fields of design (sculptors, ceramicists, industrial designers, landscape designers, sustainable designers, interior designers), fashion (tailoring, fashion and jewellery designers) and hospitality industries (chefs and bartenders), and aims to nurture talented craftspeople, helping them to hone their abilities.
To apply for the grant, makers were asked to submit a short video explaining what craftsmanship means to them, and how the $25,000 grant would help them support their craft.
60 Hands echoes PATRÓN being handmade, with 60 hands needed to craft it. From the farmers known as Jimadors who harvest the agave that become tequila, to the agave being crushed using the ancient tahona stone method, to the local Mexican glass artisans who mould and handpick the PATRÓN Tequila bottles, every element of PATRÓN is handmade.
With PATRÓN translating to ‘boss’, the seven judges helping to recognise these makers are bosses in their own fields and will offer invaluable insight into each of their crafts and industries. They include comedian Tim Ross, Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman, founders of renowned Australian fashion brand CAMILLA AND MARC, Phil Wood, Pt. Leo Estate’s celebrated Culinary Director, who is known for his award-winning cuisine and use of local produce, architects Ingrid Richards and Adrian Spence of award-winning Brisbane firm Richards & Spence and the architects behind The Calile Hotel, founder and creative director of White Story, Fiona Myer, industrial designer and founder of international surfboard brand Haydenshapes, Hayden Cox, and ceramicist and Artichoke magazine editor Cassie Hansen.
“When we have been so often separated from each other this year, finding time to reward and encourage the craftspeople who nurture the soul with the skill of their hands has never been more important,” said Wood.
The recipient of the grant will be announced in December.