Archive for the Damien Watel Category

Damien in the news

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel, media, Press with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by Do Bianchi

Fork debate aside, Watel cooks up a storm in Stone Oak

MySanAntonio.com/San Antonio Express News

July 9, 2009

By Nazish Dholakia – Staff Writer/North Central News

A literal fork in – or in this case, by – the road has not stopped restaurant owner and chef Damien Watel from aspiring to make his newest venture a success.

Earlier this year Watel, who resides in the Alamo Quarry Market area, added two new restaurants, Ciel and Ciao2, to his repertoire of restaurants throughout San Antonio.

However, the fork sculpture that Watel mounted beside these restaurants led to a confrontation between himself and the Stone Oak Property Owners Association.

The SOPOA argued that the sculpture was an unapproved 14-foot advertisement, which violated community rules. Watel has since then built a partial wall surrounding the fork as a compromise.

(The fork artist, Gilbert Duran, said he recently filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union against the POA, claiming a violation of his rights.)

“I had no idea there would be such a controversy,” Watel said.

Click here to read more…

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See and be seen: Essay Magazine Party/Mixer, Tuesday, June 16, Ciel Plaza

Posted in Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel, events with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by Do Bianchi

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Don’t miss this summer’s hottest mixer and networking event, Essay Magazine’s June Mixer at Ciel Plaza….

Damien Watel, Plaza Ciel, and Essay Magazine present:

Essay Magazine Mixer

Date:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Time:
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location:
Plaza Ciel
Street:
20626 Stone Oak Parkway
San Antonio, TX

To RSVP please call: (210) 481-7001
or email plazaciel@sorintl.com

Tanji Patton speaks out on Duran Fork censorship

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel, Press with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by Do Bianchi

tanji_pattonSan Antonio authority on everything food and wine, Tanji Patton, spoke her mind to the San Antonio News-Express on recent censorship of the Duran Fork sculpture at Ciel Plaza… Thank you Tanji!

Could the ongoing saga of the fork, the ugly wall and the angry homeowners association get any more bizarre!
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Apparently….YES. Well known San Antonio artist Gilbert Duran tells me he’s filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union alleging his right to freedom of expression and the rights of the homeowners are being trampled by the Stone Oak Homeowners Association. This gets really interesting – colorful civil rights attorney Gerry Goldstein has been contacted by the restaurant owner/chef to enter the fracas.

You’ve heard the story–culinary artist/chef Damien Watel commissions well known San Antonio artist Gilbert Duran to create a sculpture in front of his new restaurants Ciel and Ciao 2 on Stone Oak Parkway. The Stone Oak Home Owners Association cries foul, and now a 14 foot tall eyesore-of-a-wall covers the artist’s creation.

Wow…what a mess! I don’t live in Stone Oak, so I can’t say how I’d feel as a neighbor, but let’s look at the big picture. Damiel Watel is an incredibly well respected chef and restaurant operator who most landlords and neighborhoods would welcome with open arms.

A successful business creates energy and often opens the door for more successful businesses where it locates. Then, there’s the revenue generated with property taxes, sales taxes…etc. A good business is good for business!

To please the HOA, Watel doled out about $8,000 to erect the wall to cover the sculpture. Yet, nobody appears to be happy here.

My sympathies, so far, lie with Damien…unless someone can convince me otherwise. In fact, I think I’ll have dinner there this weekend.

Message from Damien to our supporters

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel, Press with tags , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Do Bianchi

Thanks to all the supporters. The Fork was always meant to be art. Art it is and I hope we get to the artistic business of cooking soon and forget the silly fork battle. Even though the attention gets to be a bit much, publicity is one thing positive for the artwork itself and public awareness about DURAN the artist. It is validation for the rest of us for encouraging such creations. Let’s hope our (whole) city gets more and more public art.


Thanks to all.

—Damien Watel

Damien Vatel unveils wall veiling Duran Fork Sculpture at Ciel Plaza

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by Do Bianchi

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“It’s a really depressing day,” noted Vatel Restaurant Family publicist Cristine Vasquez, president of SO’R International PR, as Damien Watel put the final touches on the wall that veils the Gilbert Duran Fork Sculpture at Ciel Plaza today.

Journalists, patrons, and fans gathered to watch on as Damien — owner, chef, and developer of Ciel Plaza on Stone Oak Parkway in north San Antonio (above) — inaugurated the wall which blocks view of the work of art from Stone Oak Parkway. Damien commissioned the sculpture after opening Ciel Plaza, which features his two newest restaurants, Ciel and Ciao 2.

Damien was forced to construct the wall by the Stone Oak Property Owners Association who has claimed that the fork was in violation of zoning laws, calling it advertising instead of a work of art.

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The wall (above) was completed a few days ago and was painted today by construction workers before Damien added the final touch: a red silhouette of the fork, reminiscent, he noted, of a devil’s pitchfork.

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Onlookers were treated to mimosas and croissants from Bistro Vatel Bakery, which helped to soothe the pain at watching a great work of art be censored.

Photos courtesy Mosaic Wine Group.

Another Brick in the Wall

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , on May 28, 2009 by Do Bianchi

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The censorship wall around the Duran Fork sculpture has been completed at at Ciel Plaza on Stone Oak Parkway. Please join us on Saturday at noon for its official unveiling and unveiling party at Ciel.

Saturday, May 30
12 p.m.
Ciel Plaza
20626 Stone Oak Pkwy
San Antonio, TX‎
(210) 481-7001‎

It’s a sign! It’s a sculpture! It’s a “Fork”! Censorship wall to be unveiled on Saturday May 30

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by Do Bianchi

Saturday, May 30
12 p.m.
Ciel Plaza

20626 Stone Oak Pkwy
San Antonio, TX‎
(210) 481-7001‎

It’s a sign! It’s a sculpture! It’s a “Fork”! Superman’s theme is used daily by Stone Oak Community. But this time not even Superman will save the “Fork” from Stone Oak homeowner association’s attacks.

When one drives by 20626 Stone Oak Parkway and a Fork sculpture emerges into sight, confusion settles in. What is that doing there? On April 1, 2009 Mr. Watel, renowned French chef and president of the Vatel Group, held the ribbon cutting ceremony of what he describes as “a post modern structure, premier shopping and dining complex overlooking the Hill Country.”

Since then Mr. Watel has been featured and many stories about the infamous Fork. Stone Oak HOA claims that he is infringing rules and regulations of the association architectural bylaws, and has offered a solution: a wall must be erected on the sidewalk to help hide the sculpture from street view or else.

The homeowner association claims that the Fork is advertisement for his two restaurants housed in the building: Ciel and Ciao2 and that the “improvement application” was never sent for approval; Mr. Watel denies the advertisement claim, stating that the sculpture created by local artist Gilbert Duran, was commissioned by him because he wanted to enhance the Stone Oak community with public art.

He also claims that the application was not done because there is no mention in the bylaws whatsoever regarding public art. When approached by the homeowner association to move it, take it down completely or be penalized, he requested the right to apply. The request was granted prefaced by an email stating that verbal refusal had already been discussed, so it would be a moot point to apply. He applied anyway, and it was denied; appealed and denied again.

The wall will be finished by May 27 to meet compliance, and on May 30 Mr. Watel, President of the Vatel Group, will be unveiling the wall. Local artists are invited, including the original artist Gilbert Duran, to come turn what some are calling oppression of Art and freedom of speech into yet another art event. This sadly comes at a time where the City of San Antonio is trying so hard to promote public art and will be inaugurating the river extension art project.