The Smell of Coffee All the Time
Friday, June 04, 2010 4:15 PM
Most people think of murals as giant art on a wall.
But take a look at Jesse Sifuentes' mural. It's a mural-in-the-round that gives a snapshot of East End neighborhood history.
Still untitled, the artwork is a coffee cart with about 175 mugs - some deliberately sliced in half - glued on small shelves built along the outside of the cart.
Sifuentes, and his son Josef (who is doing post-doc work in mathematics at NYU), are among 24 artists whose work will be featured on our light-rail stations we're building.
Originally created for an art show, Second Seating, the sculpture features mugs from East End businesses. There's one from Café Flores, the first coffee shop in the East End.
There's another from the defunct Muguerza Jewelers, which was located on Harrisburg Avenue. The family gave up one of two existing mugs for the project. When hot liquid is poured into it, the diamond shape on the mug glows.
Hanging above the art cart is a batik depicting rows of coffee cups - some a rich mahogany, others a cappuccino color. The mural ends with cup cut in half.
"The half a cup of coffee depicts infinity. With this, you don't know when it stops. It's the smell of coffee all the time," explained Sifuentes.
You can view it in our lobby at 1900 Main over the next few months.
Entitled The Smell of Coffee All the Time, the batik will be recreated in concrete on one of the rail station platforms in the East End, the light-rail line METRO is buildling.
Coffee has played a big role in the East End. There are only five coffee manufacturing plants west of the Mississippi River - and three of those are located in the East End, said Sifuentes.
Along the border of the cart and on the lid are paintings by Sifuentes, including a "missing man" formation of jets to symbolize residents of the East End who have passed on.
There's a painting on the lid that shows how coffee is transported in and out of the East End - by ship, flatbed truck and rail. Giant coffee cups are painted on each mode of transportation.
Along the border of one side of the cart are Ford Model Ts. A Ford Model T plant was the forerunner of the Maxwell coffee plant, which is now the Maximus coffee plant.
"That's what murals do - they're narratives," said Sifuentes, pictured on the right with acting President & CEO George Greanias.
Come by and brouse this unique mural - smell the coffee - and learn a bit of history at the same time.