Art to match the grinds

Gilroy
– Sue Shalit’s passion for the caffeinated bean is quickly
spreading across her new investment – the former site of Garlic
City Coffee
&
amp; Tea. The downtown’s corner coffee shop, renamed Sue’s
Coffee Roasting Company, has a classic coffee grinder and bags of
organic, fair trade beans in its windows.
Gilroy – Sue Shalit’s passion for the caffeinated bean is quickly spreading across her new investment – the former site of Garlic City Coffee & Tea. The downtown’s corner coffee shop, renamed Sue’s Coffee Roasting Company, has a classic coffee grinder and bags of organic, fair trade beans in its windows. The redesigned interior matches the tan hue of a latte. And the freshly painted walls now are covered with art made from what else? Coffee.

Not all the art is about Shalit’s favorite bean, but it’s all made using a coffee-based painting technique developed by a pair of Minnesota artists, Andrew Saur and Angel Sarkela-Saur.

Shalit is displaying a mix of 10 small and large paintings, as well as several dozen prints with coffee themes. While coffee-based washes and shading have been used in the past, the prints on Shalit’s walls use coffee in a new way to create darker hues. The paintings are generally variations on coffee mugs and themes in nature, such as reindeer and other animals.

“People really have commented on it,” Shalit said. “Coffee art is taken seriously, (although) some of them are fun, like one of the prints have Lego people sitting and drinking coffee.”

Shalit began displaying the paintings earlier this week. She discovered the artists while surfing the Internet.

“I was online looking at coffee things,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh this is a really neat way to try to get this place in tune with the coffee thing.’ ”

A focus on coffee isn’t the only change Shalit has instituted since April, when she took over the store at the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets. She has also tried to recruit new musicians to play during Friday music nights, as well as poets and other artists for open microphone events. She also has plans to shuffle up the menu and extend night-time hours.

“I think people have started to notice the changes – the color has changed, the decor has changed,” she said. “The coffee’s still great because we still have the same great people brewing and serving.… It’s a wonderful corner.”

To view examples of coffee art visit www.justcoffeeart.com. To learn more about Shalit’s coffee store, visit www.suescoffeeroasting.com.

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