Anyone can snap an #InstaWorthy picture of the natty wine they’re drinking on a given day, but to do it in a compelling manner proves slightly more difficult. Maybe that’s why Anna Vu’s wine drawings are popping up in the internet world and beyond.
The Australian native studied design at Sydney College of the Arts, going on to work in the publishing industry for magazines like Gourmet Traveller. She’s also frequented New York City and now Berlin.
Starting off with Good Food Crap Drawing, a food-blog-turned-Instagram where Vu documents her favorite restaurant experiences and food dishes through lighthearted drawings with felt-tip pens, the creation of Good Wine Crap Drawing several years later happened quite naturally—both in the literal sense and the natural wines she started drinking.
You’re likely to find her illustrations in wine shops, magazines, and beyond. I caught up with Vu digitally from her home in Berlin.
Hi Anna, great to finally meet you. How are things over there in Berlin?
I had a trial shift today at a cafe. I’ve decided to take on some cafe work because being an artist is tough. More because I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to be a struggling artist. It’s just some extra money really. But I like hospitality. The things I draw are food and wine, and I’ve always worked around food. I enjoy that kind of work.
You’re from Sydney but spent some time in New York?
I started working at a food magazine straight out of college. I started as a Junior Designer and worked my way up to Senior Designer. I had been there for almost five years and decided to quit to move to New York. That was something I always wanted to do. I got a Deputy Art Director job at a magazine there, but it was horrible. I hated it.
Shortly after, I was looking for another job, and the magazine back in Sydney rang me. My boss had left, and they wanted me to come back to replace her as the Art Director. So I finished up my year in New York and returned to Sydney. I did another five years there, then travel called me again.
How did Good Food Crap Drawing come about?
I started it in New York, because I was unemployed for a few months, and I needed an outlet. There’s so much amazing food in New York. I had already worked for the food magazine back in Sydney, so I was quite into food. On my days off, I would wander around and try new foods.
I didn’t want to make another food blog. I can’t really write or take good photos, so I thought it’d be funny to draw what I ate. Even though I studied design, I don’t have an illustration background, so that’s why it’s called “crap drawing.” It was just meant to be sketches of what I was eating. I brought that back to Sydney and kept doing it. My friends at the magazine loved it, and the deputy editor who’s a good friend of mine told me I should make an Instagram for it.
And what about Good Wine Crap Drawing?
Good Wine Crap Drawing started because I drink as much as I eat. With every meal, I pretty much have a glass of wine anyway. Then I started getting into natural wine. I started the wine thing much more recently, but surprisingly, that’s become more popular at the moment.
What brought you to Berlin?
I hit the highest I could go with the job at the magazine. I decided to quit and move to Berlin for three months on a tourist visa because I have a lot of friends that live here. I didn’t work at all those three months. I just relaxed and hung out. I went back to Sydney and still had no idea what I wanted to do, except that I really enjoyed my time in Berlin. So I thought, why don’t I just save up and move back to Berlin and try to do illustration full time?
How would you describe the wine scene in Berlin?
There’s a handful of bars here. The ones that exist are really good, and they’re cheap. You can get a glass of wine here for five or six euro. I was in New York recently and forgot how expensive things were. Being so close to Austria, Italy, and France, it’s really accessible here. People are embracing it.
The scene here is quite small, so once you get into it, it’s easy to know all the other bars and the people behind them. My favorite wine bar here is called Motif Wein. They found me on Instagram and asked me if I wanted to do an exhibition for them, so I did eight drawings for them in August last year.
What are you drinking right now?
Vinyes Singulars—I haven't really tried one I didn't like! I really love their 2017 Sumoll Rosado, which I’ve done a drawing of.
I went to Sommer Weinfest [earlier this year] and drank some amazing wine! Another favorite winemaker of mine at the moment is Petr Korab. I just had more of his wine at the wine fair. Also, the wines of Bergkloster and Weigand were so good, and I'll hopefully be working with them and two other winemakers: Marto (Martin Worner) and Andi Mann who are all making a wine together. Very exciting!
Sydney Love is a freelance journalist. This is Sydney Love's first feature for Sprudge Wine.
Photos courtesy of Anna Vu