|9/15/14 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Pitt Artist's Pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
The Chevron gas station at the corner of Northeast 85th and Fifth Northeast has had an independent espresso stand on one side of its property for years. The caffeine biz is a difficult, competitive one. (During the half-hour that I took to make this sketch, the stand had one customer besides me.) If I’m filling my gas tank there, I sometimes get a coffee, and I’ve seen a recurring cycle of mood swings: At first there’s high enthusiasm and optimism, lots of fun marketing ideas and perky, hand-lettered signs. Gradually the hours shorten, the signs and smiles fade, and the next time I drive by, the stand has a new name. These cycles rarely last longer than a year – sometimes as short as a few months.
I’ve occasionally considered sketching the stand whenever it changes hands, but the nondescript, shed-like structure hasn’t interested me much as a sketching subject. Until today.
The latest rendition, Mug Bugs Coffee, has been open for two months, but only yesterday put up an eye-catching display: the front half of an actual VW Bug perched on top of the stand. The barista told me that the owner has another store in Kent, and when I Googled it, I discovered that the Kent store is adorned with the rear half of what looks like the same Bug. I don’t know how long this one will last, but the iced mocha tasted fine, and I give them bonus points for the Bug.