Waiter Turns 'Guest Checks' Into Works Of Art

By Alisa Hauser on January 2, 2013 7:39am | Updated on January 8, 2013 6:49am

 Kevin Fair stands in front of a painting he made to mimic the guest checks that he doodles on as a waiter at Miller's Pub.
Kevin Fair stands in front of a painting he made to mimic the guest checks that he doodles on as a waiter at Miller's Pub.
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DNAInfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — The green and white restaurant slips looked more like bills than a blank canvas to most people.

But not to MB Abram, curator of MB Galleries in Los Angeles.

Abram was visiting Chicago when he found himself being waited on by Kevin Fair at downtown's Miller's Pub and noticed the "wonderful and fanciful figures" Fair inked on his guest checks.

Impressed, Abram requested that Fair mail him more of the artsy guest checks.

Now, Fair's doodles make up the "Check Please" collection of 23 pieces at MB Galleries. Each piece lists for $250.

"There was something about the spontaneity of it. I said to Kevin that these things should be available to the public," Abrams said.

"In my 20-year career, he's the first artist I ever discovered while being waited on. In L.A., it's said every waiter is prepping for his next film.  In this case, it was an artist and he was in Chicago," Abrams said.

Fair, during a tour of his attic home and studio in Wicker Park, said he paints and draws in many genres but all of it is inspired by "stuff that makes me happy."

Fair prefers to work on guest checks because they don't take too much time to create.

"Whatever I make in my shift, that's it," he said.

Wendy Godinez, a front desk manager at Miller's Pub, 134 S. Wabash, says she's worked closely with Fair since 2003.  A few years ago, she walked past him during a slow shift and noticed that he was doodling on a guest check.

"I thought [his guest checks] were just awesome. I like the creativity, the designs," Godinez said.

When asked if Fair's doodling ever got in the way of his work, Godinez replied that he was a good worker and "one of our best."

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