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3D artist to paint a 4V mural

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

Hard on the heels of Britain's famous 3D artist Julian Beever apparently digging a hole in New York's Union Square comes the news that the equally famous international artist Kurt Wenner has been commissioned to create a 4V mural entitled Vivi Vivace i Vizu e le Virtu (Live intensely your vices and virtues) for a Seattle coffeehouse.

Seattle boasts that it's the most cultured city in America, if not the world, so its vicious and virtuous citizens alike will be able to view the mural while sipping superb coffee at David Schomer's Espresso Vivace Roasteria.

"In a city awash in coffee, Vivace has gone from selling lattes and espresso from a street cart in 1988 to a 48-employee company that includes two Seattle coffeehouses," says a story in Business Week magazine.

"A mural [not one of Wenner's] on the front of the bar counter illustrates the history of espresso and is painted with coffee pigments. Scattered across the rainforest-green and coffee-brown marble floor are mosaic tiles with renderings of latte art patterns."

As a young man, Schomer worked for Boeing as a measurements engineer. In his spare time he studied classical flute at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, hoping to become a professional musician.

By 1987, he had married, and his wife, Geneva Sullivan, had borne their first child. Tired of travelling a long way to work, and facing mounting household expenditure, he left Boeing and went into the coffee business.

"Seattle was becoming coffee-crazed, with coffeehouses cropping up everywhere and residents becoming connoisseurs of a type of rich, intense coffee that most of America had yet to taste," says Business Week.

"In 1988, Schomer and Sullivan, who now handles the company's accounting, used $12,000 in savings to start Vivace as an espresso cart on Broadway Avenue in the city's hip Capitol Hill neighborhood. At first, the Broadway Chamber of Commerce opposed the idea, but Schomer persuaded them by promising to provide classical musicians to play for his customers."

Using his engineering knowledge, Schomer introduced several groundbreaking ideas for producing (and serving) the best brew in Seattle. Today he an icon of the nation's coffee industry.

Kurt Wenner was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and by the time he was 17 was earning a living as a graphic artist. NASA later employed him as an advanced scientific space illustrator, creating conceptual paintings of future space projects and extra-terrestrial landscapes based on information from the Voyager spacecraft.

In 1982, he left NASA and sold his belongings to go to Italy. There, he studied the great masters and made drawings of classical sculptures in the museums. He brought 3-D (anamorphism) to the art of street painting, and was featured in a National Geographic Special in the early 1980s. Since then, he has attracted huge crowds of admirers watching him produce 3D masterpieces on sidewalks in the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands.

In 2004, he created a 3D painting in the heart of New York's Times Square, during the week-long 100th anniversary celebrations. Good Morning America featured his daily progress and the finished painting.

FOOTNOTE: We enjoy a nightly cup of virtual coffee by visiting the website of Ray (Dad) White, the 94-year-old Tennessee tomato-grower who is America's oldest blogger. Dad always has a magical cup of coffee on his homely website, to share with his numerous visitors.

It reminds us of Norman Lindsay's famous Magic Pudding. Lindsay said the pudding operated on two rules: (a) "The more you eats, the more you gets. Cut and come again is his name, and cut and come again is his nature"; (b) "If you want to change his flavour, just whistle three times and turn the basin round. Then he'll encourage you to 'eat away, chew away, munch and bolt and guzzle. Never leave the table till you're full up to the muzzle.'"

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Story first posted March 2007

Copyright 2007

Eric Shackle

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