Former cook transforms Tabernacle restaurant into impressive work of art

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Jeremy Twiss had never painted a piece of art in his entire life. So, the natural thing to do? Make his first project a Sistine Chapel-like endeavor, with massive murals covering every inch of a restaurant on Buffalo's West Side.

You have to see the end result in order to believe it.

"I have my own feelings of awe. How? How did I do this?"

Those are Twiss's own words. He is just as surprised as anyone with how impressive the artwork turned out.

"He was a good cook too," Prish Moran, owner of the Tabernacle, joked. "Just a better painter, you know?"

Moran also owns Sweet_Ness 7, a cafe at 220 Grant Street, which is connected to the Tabernacle. It was at the cafe where Twiss had worked as a cook since 2013.

"I never was involved in the arts," Twiss said. "When I did this, I didn't really expect it to go anywhere because I hadn't done anything like this before."

"There was no plan for Jeremy to paint the entire place or do this or that," Moran explained. "It all evolved very organically."

Twiss worked on the paintings for the past year. Each panel tells a story and holds important meaning. The stories all connect to each other and share a story of Twiss's personal development.

He also did the entire project free hand, without any projections or tracings to help guide him.

"There's quite a lot of mixtures of all different kinds of mythology and a lot of geometric art," he said.

The Tabernacle was an historic house of worship at one point in the building's history. Moran, Twiss and Zack Wickham completely renovated the space on their own. It's a traditional public house. Simple, healthy, tavern food paired with high quality cocktails and drinks. Visitors will seat themselves and order food at the bar to create a more open, welcoming atmosphere.

Moran hopes this artwork will help inspire more people to value the arts more and continue to push for more arts education in schools. Eventually, she hopes to host field trips for local school children to look at Twiss' work and hear how he found his talent.

The restaurant had its soft opening Friday. It will be open Tues-Thurs from 5-11 p.m. and Fri-Sat from 5 p.m.-1 a.m. It is located at Grant Street and Lafayette Avenue in Buffalo.

Moran plans to hold an "art opening" where Twiss will discuss his inspiration and work that went into the pieces. No date has been set for that event.

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