It started in Vietnam. Coffee, in an entirely different way. Coffee that hits closer to something you snort than your morning cup of joe.
Drunk from seats lower to the ground than I knew could be borrowed from toddlers. English that cannot be uttered, and to my dismay, Vietnamese that cannot be articulated correctly, no matter my intonations. It was the familiarity, yet the total foreign expanse of the daily constant that is coffee. I learned from it, and I loved it. The Vietnamese coffee; a few drips of black water with an equal amount of condensed milk. One would be justified to assume the sweetened glug of the milk would be too much, but with coffee as hard-hitting as this, it was a welcome balance. It became my staple whilst riding through the Vietnamese countryside - food to be found was not a given, Cà Phê (ca-fe) was.
I heard coffee being referred to as black water from Leonard Cohen. It’s black water that as important as a drink as it is a moment of comparison. It’s a moment of routine yet a moment of judgment, for me at least. I hear that tea is the most common liquid drunk around the world, but for those of us asking for something a little more powerful, coffee oftentimes gives us a particular culture’s best foot forward. As a Melbournian I am all to familiar with the mystique of the “hot barista” culture, the finesse over the flat white, unbeatable to those who stand by it, but I have moved around and I have tasted the other side (!). New York and her iced coffee takeaway in hand on hot streets in the summer - single-use plastic never looked so… chic! The Britts and their dainty one-finger holding tea cups, “it” girls and their matcha, it’s personal and it’s global, it’s routine and it’s addiction.
When I’m remote, which happens to be often, I pine over things once presented to me daily as options for my consumption. Options, are something you peg to living in a city. Freedom, perhaps, is what you get when you’re without these options. These studies were drawn in Lombok, Indonesia. Days without shops, with out cafes, without traffic. I get satisfaction from drawing the things I once took as a given, whilst enjoying the breeze and uncrowded ocean, if I were not here I would be drawing the emptiness of some special places in nature.
As a series of 16, this is my largest collection to date. The many faces of the much familiar black water, it has been represented as many times as it’s been consumed, without the intention to be groundbreaking, this is my experience, as a visual collection.