Our Manhattan Cocktail Classic Tattoo Contest Finalists Tell Their Stories


The time is almost upon us — it’s only a few weeks until the always extravagant Manhattan Cocktail Classic descends on the city, with hundreds of events, parties, and of course, high-class booze. We’ve been keeping our excitement at bay by focusing our energies on the fabulous designs sent in by our readers for the temporary tattoo contest running on our Facebook page. Finally, we can announce the winners of this contest — the designs that were awesome enough to be made into 1,000 real temporary tattoos each. Our grand prize winner also won tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s yearly Gala. Click through to see the designs and learn about the designers.

Our Grand Prize Winner: Alexander Hauck, Mainz, Germany

Where do you work? I’m running a small company with my business partner, Stephan Berg, called “The Bitter Truth.” We’re based in Germany and produce a nice range of cocktail bitters and niche liqueurs.

How long have you been designing? Actually I started designing during kindergarten times. I developed a cardboard submarine which wasn’t really successful! From 1999 to 2003 I studied graphic design. After I had graduated I started bartending professionally and arts and design became my hobby. Today the main part of my work consists of design.

Who are your inspirations or heroes in the world of art and design? I’m a big fan of 19th-century old-fashioned design but also art deco, Polynesian pop art, and western pop art. The list of people who inspired me is very long! But here are some names: Edward Hopper, Frank Gehry, Franz Lenhart, Mel Ramos, Pearl Frush, Marko Djurdjević (a friend and true hero of mine!) — and many more!

Christina Mercado, Warwick, RI

Where do you work? I am the chef/owner of Deliciae: Specialty Cakes & Confections, which is just entering it’s second year. It is a pastry catering business that provides unique cakes and/or pastries for special events. It is currently based out of Rhode Island, but my clients have ranged from Massachusetts to New York. I also work at a restaurant as a pastry chef.

How long have you been designing? I have been designing as long as I can remember. I have always loved art, from my first set of Crayola crayons to my current set of Faber-Castell pencils. Currently the majority of my designs are focused on my occupation, for cakes and plated desserts. I even have a wall in my apartment covered in cake drawings and designs.

Do you make art outside of what you do for work/your design work? I do. Pencils are my absolute favorite medium. For color, I tend to turn to hard pastels. I am constantly sketching, but every now and again I get the inspiration to finish the fine details of the drawings, and it usually turns into a series. Most recently I’ve created pieces based on quotes I’ve heard that have inspired me and that reflected the way I felt after a certain event. I also practice photography, focusing on travel, nature, and landscape. I have a second wall in my apartment dedicated to these pieces!

Raffaella Ciavatta, New York, NY

How long have you been designing? I can say I’ve been designing since I was a kid, I got my first computer when I was five and grew up with a great inspiration [in] my cousin, currently into advertising as an art director. But I ended up not choosing design as my profession due to turbulent reasons at the time. So when I turned 24 and had moved from Brazil to NY I decided to earn the title formally and went back to school.

Who are your inspirations or heroes in the world of art and design? Leonardo da Vinci is my favorite artist of all time. Unbeatable inspiration and ideas. For poetry Giacomo Leopardi and Cecilia Meireles. Going towards design Paul Rand, Dave Carson, and going more modern Fabio Sasso, Jessica Hische, and my very favorite Kelli Anderson. Not to mention sites and blogs like Abduzeedo.com, ffffound.com.

Judd Harris, Brooklyn, NY

Where do you work? I am a real estate agent at The Corcoran Group by day and I’m also a musician (Visible from Space is my band) and I do voice-over work.

Who are your inspirations or heroes in the world of art and design? Again, most of my artistic heroes are musicians, but I do love good design and enjoy seeing tons of apartments where I get to look at what lots of people are doing with their interiors, kitchens, and baths. I’ve also seen some amazing art on people’s walls.

Zachary Johnson, Denver, CO

Honorable Mention: Carrie Christensen, Manhattan, NY

How long have you been designing? I am a dabbler not an artist but after hearing there was a NYC-centric quest I immediately thought what a wonderful stem the Empire State Building would be and obviously there was no other choice than an classic art deco topping; it seemed the perfect compliment to the MCC motif!

Do you make art outside of what you do for work/your design work? I have no art responsibilities at work but I am lucky enough to have two artist parents who have always been beyond supportive: an architect mother who helped design this glorious city and an illustrator father who was the hand behind the art of Weekly Reader for 30+ years…? I am an avid photographer and I love to watercolor. I should thank my father’s career in cut paper art for the skills I used to cut and stitch together the elements of my design.