Words by Pablo Lara, SDCN Assistant Editor. Photos by Julie Rings, SDCN Contributor.
San Diego’s vibrant coffee culture is being showcased through a myriad of social outlets. Articles are written, photographs shared and events carried out. People are fascinated by the beauty of the coffee ritual with its artisanal roasting and rich aesthetics of espresso machines and manual brewing equipment.
In a downright creative fashion, Mary Jhun Dandan, artist and talented barista at Café Virtuoso, has found her own way to encapsulate the pleasant moments coffee brings her. Through beautiful illustrations she is able to share with her audience the simple beauty of the bar space, a wonderful merging of her two passions: Art and Coffee.
It all started while enjoying a cup of coffee at the Coffee and Tea Collective in Downtown. Mary found herself in a creative block and began sketching familiar things, instantly their matted white EK47 grinder caught her eye. Since it talked to her she began sketching this beautiful piece of equipment. By focusing on the bar space Mary found comfort, leading to this wonderful collection.
These sketches have taken Mary through a learning journey. They have sparked her interest in researching the equipment, learning about different models and their mechanics. As a barista/artist she has picked up on the different characterics of each shop which she finds reflected on their bar space. “ I’ve learned to appreciate each set up. Every shop has the same basic equipment but the set ups are completely original”.
This is the first time Mary focuses on still lifes, a particular genre of sketching she had no prior interest in. The theme of the bar space has given Mary a newfound appreciation for this genre, still lifes showcase the beauty in commonplace things and for baristas this is found in the bar space and production facility.
For Mary being a great barista goes beyond latte art, it is about sharing your passion through engagement. The goal of this collection, as Mary stated, is to “show non-industry people the beauty baristas find in their workspace”. These sketches are enlivened by this unique barista perspective, managing to transmit our coffee crazy gaze to a larger audience.
Mary’s Sketching Heavens:
You can catch this talented artist sketching away at coffee shops all over town. Here is the scoop on her favorite's.
Holsem: Because its full of light!
Coffee & Tea Collective: For their sexy Ek43.
Ironsmith Coffee Roasters: Open airflow and their original use of the vertical space.
Café Virtuoso: The sounds of the roaster are comforting and the old brick building is beautiful.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters: Its small size gives a personal feel and you can sketch for hours on their awesome cement tables.