Back in April, I flew out to Portland to spend some time visiting with Mark Hellweg, owner of Clive Coffee, and to visit some of the local shops I’d heard so much about. I instantly fell in love with the comfortable, unique, and neighborhood-like feel of the city, and was exposed to some great coffees and spaces laced throughout the city.
The main reason for my trip, though, was to work on a film project with Clive. The premise of the video was to explain some of the differences between home espresso machines, and to visualize some of the benefits and qualities you should be looking for when approaching espresso machines for home use.
The video starts off with a Venetian style coffee house—symbolizing the first time you ever fell in love with espresso. From there, the video walks through the thought process of trying to figure out how to get the same experience at home.
Highlighting some different espresso machine styles—from the simplistic and cheap plastic models to the over-complicated Rube-Goldberg style with unnecessary bells-and-whistles, the video finally lands on some good quality options to use at home.
The whole experience was really fun for me—getting to travel to Portland and immerse myself in some of the coffee scene out there was an added bonus, but getting to work with Mark and the gang at Clive to put this together was a real highlight. Great people doing great things—I really appreciate the oportunity to work with them and look forward to connecting with them again in the future.
**Also, I learned a lot about drawing and myself while I was out in Portland. Being filmed while drawing really adds a strange dynamic to my thought process. I really started to over-analyze every movement, and started worrying about things like staying out of the way of the camera, lighting, subtle movements, etc. Needless to say, I don’t think the drawings in the video are my best work, but they sure did a great job with the video as a whole, adding in some nice B-roll and annotations.**
Not too long ago, I was approached by the Synesso team, based out of Seattle, Washington, about a possible project collaboration.
Apparently they had around 100 side panels for an older model espresso machine laying around the warehouse. Rather than trash them or let them sit around the warehouse, they wanted to do something that could give the warehouse some unique character.
After some back and forth, Henry Erikson – Synesso’s Social Media Director – decided they would be cool to utilize a large beam in the warehouse to hang powder-coated side panels from – each panel designed and decorated by a different artist.
I came up with a design of the Synesso Hydra on a typical Hario filter. They then took the drawing and blew it up onto a large clear sticker and applied it to the side of a stainless steel panel. I think it turned out pretty nice and am excited to see more panels from other artist.
I’ve heard a lot about Synesso, and while in Seattle and Portland, I’ve seen and had shots pulled from their machines. It’s a privilege to work with Synesso and really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this new warehouse project. It’s exciting to know that while the Synesso team is in the warehouse creating wonderful machines, a doodle of mine will be hanging out above them. Hopefully some other artists get involved.
I’m in the beginning stages of what could turn out to be an extremely fun and fulfilling project. My mother-in-law is a wizard on a wood lathe, and has made it her hobby to turn pens and bowls out of anything she can find. She’ll make pens out of anything from a normal piece of oak, to a nice piece of ebony, all the way up to a fossilized wooly mammoth tusk.
She approached me and asked if I would doodle on some of her pen blanks she recently turned. Tonight, I made my first attempt and am relatively happy with the results. A bit sloppy and busy, but I learned some things and am excited to work on some more of these.
Who knows, maybe she’ll turn me a handle for an espresso tamper.
I’m very excited to be partnering with Kuma Coffee on their next line of mugs, t-shirts, and hoodies. Kuma is roasting some incredible coffees – rumor has it that the Kenya Gichatha-ini Mark just put out is the best coffee in Seattle right now. Excited that they’ve chosen to use a custom doodle from me for their products.
This picture includes: Seattle Space Needle, Kuma Coffee on Stoneway, Empire Espresso, Cafe Bambino, Mark’s Probat roaster, the Fremont Troll, Panama Elida Burlap, and a custom “engraved” bottomless portafilter.
A lot of fun for me to do, and I think the mugs are going to look great – especially holding some freshly made and freshly roasted Kuma.