Riverside artist, Geoff Gouveia, uses the local cafe community to promote his work and make art more approachable.
Movements happen in cafes; ideas are talked over with hot cups warming cold hands and igniting passions. While third wave coffee is a movement in and of itself, it is also inspiring artists to consider and change the way we look at their work. Instead of galleries, artists like Geoff Gouveia of Riverside, California are turning to the third wave coffee scene for help.
Geoff proudly calls himself a regular at Augie’s Coffee Roasters, also based in Riverside, and so does his art. The two-person table near the 12th Street entrance is his morning office and the walls are usually decorated with his work. Riverside is similarly proud to call the artist a native Riversidian. Geoff’s pieces are plastered on alleyways throughout Redlands, California as giant, vibrant murals.
On September 17th Geoff launched his first collaborative, experience-based art show at the same Augie’s he himself is a regular at. He wanted to take a different approach to the way consumers see art. œArt in its natural form is kind of alienating, Geoff shares. œI like partnering with coffee shops because I like highlighting the community aspect of it.
œWhen I was first studying art I didn’t like the gallery system, Geoff shares, telling how he felt œawkward in that space. It was lonely and there was a lot of pressure. Geoff thought that murals, in their natural state, evoked a natural response. That is how he wanted his art to connect with people: naturally.
Geoff discovered his artistic talent in high school and developed it throughout college but had no idea it would have to lead him to paint massive murals for important companies like Vayner Media and Facebook. œWhen I first started creating work, it was to make my friends laugh, says Geoff of his signature cheeky style that involves long armed figures with animal heads or other odd characteristics. It was always about the people. Geoff’s mission statement on his website or social media says œmaking art to connect people to hope.
While his artistic abilities were budding, he found another creative and social outlet in working for the coffee industry. It was the customer interaction aspect that made people so intriguing and the quenchless drive of coffee connoisseurs to seek out their passion that drove him to seek his own. œIt really taught me how to actually talk with people, and there are a lot of people who are just going for it. I was inspired by going to a few SCAA events. It came to a point where coffee wasn’t my passion anymore but I became inspired, Geoff says. œWhen I decided to become an artist I took that with me.
œI wanted a lot of people interacting in the space, Geoff thought as he sketched out how the evening would look. He ended up with four musical performances, walls littered with paintings to ponder while waiting in line for a cappuccino, and a shop pulsing with people who seemed to have always wanted the experiences to join together. œIt wasn’t just specific to the art, Geoff explains. œA hard part about art is that we see it everyday through social media, so it can make seeing it in person a little bit underwhelming ”so I thought if I could attach an experience it would make it a little more fun and worth it to check out.
The crowds of bodies moving in to see the hubbub would have to agree. Geoff’s tagline for his work is œMaking art to connect people to hope. While that connection aspect is often lost in white-walled and silent galleries, it is found over coffee and collaboration, so Geoff intertwined it all to create an experiential gallery and shift the way people respond to art. Through coffee and people this has happened. Geoff also shared that many projects and ideas have come through being a regular at various shops. The hospitality and community of it all creates a world of opportunities. Geoff is taking every possible advantage of those opportunities as he furthers his career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Taylor May is a freelance writer and barista born and raised in Southern California. She enjoys the thrill of riding in airplanes to far away places, the simple delights of a tasty cup of coffee, the escape of comic books and novels, and the satisfaction of putting pen to paper to tell a story.