Coffee table book project - Melbourne cafe scenes

My favourite thing to draw has always been people. I believe there is a lot of things to capture in a person’s face, especially the eyes.
The idea of this project was a few years back, when I moved to Melbourne to start university course. I found Melbourne has its own culture that is so different from other places I’ve been –a specialty coffee culture.
I noticed that behind Melbourne coffee scene, there was passion - a lot of it, and shared by many people. I could see it as I was drawing the scene. The faces and eyes I candidly captured on paper, and probably would never see again. There was a communal sense, between baristas, roasters, and customers. There is enjoyment on the job which I rarely see.
A few years later, in 2018, I decided to take a break from uni course and I started to working on this project as a full time…. Now I have drawn over 100 drawings with a variety of styles.

As I go through the project, I’ve met so many different people - cafe goers, coffee enthusiasts, baristas, cafe owners, and so on. Without realising it, I’ve found myself learning more and more about Melbourne’s cafe culture and coffee. I’ve grown to understand why people are so passionate about helping the farmers that produce the coffee beans, thinking of ways to reduce cafe-related waste or training their palate from coffee tastings.

In reviewing my work so far, I’ve found some I’m content with and some I’d like to redraw. But it got me thinking - is the point of this project simply to go through a list of things? Is it not to improve something about myself as I go on and capture that learning experience?
I realise now, that the goal of finishing 100 cafe drawings is not anymore relevant to my current purpose. I want to capture the essence of Melbourne’s Cafe Culture. 100 is only a number, but it is not necessarily the right concept if what I want is to understand the culture. There are so many interesting things within the cafe culture that is not yet very visible to the general population. I feel that my project should be able to help people discover these themselves.

As a result, the project will be taking a more robust concept. It will and should be an art book that compiles of my artwork, regardless of the quantity. But it should also evoke the sensibilities of the culture rather than just a pile of cafe drawings. So ideally the drawings will also be framed with articles and opinions written by locals who are either working in the industry, or simply enthusiasts. ‘Captured on Paper’ sounds like the perfect summary of what I want to see this book does to Melbourne’s Cafes.

In trying to achieve the right outcome of the project, I have now partnered up with Inedible, a not-for-profit publisher with a focus on F&B culture and aim to support and acknowledge the farming communities behind the scenes of that very culture. The core team will consists of designer Vina Nurina, content editor Enrico Utomo, and of course yours truly. The idea is to also collaborate with locals, so the team should grow as time goes on. 
The project is scheduled to be released this year.
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