I haven’t been documenting nearly as much as I thought I would on Crete. I’ve been like this lady: I’ve sat and read, and listened to the Brits and French people pile into the Sunset Cafe Taverna on Stavros Beach, and let the dappled light and ocean sounds take me away.
Hot and sweaty after a hike up to Cave Lera this morning. The town and beaches of Stavros in the background. Worth every step of the vertical climb. 📸 @john_toya
I usually create a hashtag for my drawing observations while I’m traveling but I just don’t feel like doing that today. I guess that means I’m on a real vacation. The British couple in front of me argued intensely for a couple of hours while being affectionate with each other, quite an impressive feat. I was going to show them the drawing as they were getting up to leave but I didn’t want to fuck with their gentility.
It’s my first time in Greece. To be specific, the island of Crete. I’ve had more raki than I should admit, since I’ve arrived. I’ve explored, I’ve drawn, I’ve painted, I’ve been inspired. I’ve worked, I’ve not worked. I’ve also cooked, and I’ve eaten. A lot. 📸 @blbar10
Back in San Francisco, the latest THE USUAL column drops in print in @sfchronicle_food this weekend, on the fanatics and frequent frequenters of restaurant culture. I mean, I understand that vibe. I’m a ‘regular’ at several restaurants, and nobody can tell me nothing about it. The article, written by my frequent collaborator (and professional wife) @rachellevinsf, tells the tale of a Japanese restaurant in the Outer Richmond that has several strict seating and socializing policies that provide a haven for its diehard customers. It was a fun challenge to illustrate such a small and cozy space. Check out the link in my profile, and pick up your copy this weekend! #TheUsualSF
I traveled to Grenada last week for my grandmother’s 96th birthday. It was wonderful to be with Miss Lyris and my family for the week. I worked on several deadlines while I was here, but it’s an entirely different thing when the table you’re working on sits under mango and plantain trees. Coming home to the Caribbean is always a fortifying and spiritual experience. Time, and everything else, moves at a slower pace, so my brain and my responses have to slow down, too. A family friend came over on my last night and asked questions about my professional path. I explained to her that my young mind was inspired by the climate and culture of Grenada in ways I couldn’t have made sense of as I was growing there, but feel so clear to me now. The landscape, the colors, the architecture, the history, the people. It’s all over my work. I’m going to be traveling for the next two weeks in Europe and I have my travel bags filled with my tools for documenting the experience. I’m soaking what I see, feel, smell, so I can come home and reflect it all.
Even with the various projects coming out of #McCalmanCo, I set an intention this year to continue working with photographers to help package their varied and important visual works. This catalog, one just off the presses, is for Morgan Ione Yeager, for a stunning story on Mezcal. The layering of images on some of the spreads was inspired by the photography itself.
The next installment of my semi-regular column THE USUAL with @rachellevinsf drops next weekend in @sfchronicle_food. It’s about people and the restaurants they like...no, love...no, are obsessed with. Here is a cropped #process preview of one of the drawings for the column. I like spending some of my time illustrating people and what they are eating. It helps me figure out what I’m having for lunch. #TheUsualSF
The team of 60 writers, illustrators, and photographers combined to make a journal of advice and life lessons that is @goodcompanyzine. I’m really proud of the subject (money!) and issue that @designsponge and @kellikehler put together, and it was a pleasure to design. I’ve shown the cover and cover process but not the entire issue. Here it is. The whooole thing. Soak it up. Tell your wife, husband and children about this magazine! #GoodCoMoney
I’ve admired @mcnairevans photography for a while now. We had discussed working together at various points and I’ve run into him randomly around San Francisco art openings. We met last week at my painting studio to discuss an impending project together. I was really surprised to find out how similar our approaches and processes were. It was strange for me to listen to him dissect his interest in photography as a vehicle for revealing identity: of people, places and things. I felt like I was listening to a twin star from a distant solar system. My interest in identity stems from not being born in the United States and staring at what that means from the outside looking in. McNair’s background and upbringing had him staring from the inside of a particular kind of American success out. We sat for two hours and talk about our inverse way at looking at the same thing. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had about the power and nuance of art in, like, forever. As our time was coming to a close, he showed me his ongoing book project that he’s photographed, designed, and bound on subject of the American railroad system and what it reveals about the success and failure of the American Dream: I complimented his creative dexterity, he laughed: “Art is fucking fun.” #ObservedSF
I’ve had an art studio for the last year and a half that I’ve kept mostly to myself. I’ve spent a lot of time here but, to me, never enough. It has felt sacred and it has been precious. I’ve completed several fine art shows here, my column at various times, and other deadlines that require pens, paints and loose lines; not laptops, picas and Indesign. It was the setting I met Julie Cloutier and Georgia Hodges a couple of years ago and learned that I was an artist too, who desired a place to get messy occasionally. It was a revelation. This place couldn't be more opposite than my design studio. That space is meant for presentation. This place is meant for meditation. A few weeks ago I realized I needed to spend more time here. I have a project that is about to command more of my attention, and requires a space that has no technological trappings, no Wi-Fi, lots of light and no distractions. With the help of the wonderful @john_toya a space is taking shape that feels like home. I’ve started letting people in. It feels good.
The May edition of #ObservedSF (a day late but never a dollar short) is OUT. The entire column, found in the San Francisco Chronicle Style section, reports on the @sfmoma #artbashsfmoma and the various moments I witnessed during the six hours I was there. Selfies in front of Warhols, art patrons communing with powerful art, stoic security guards, choreographed Nick Cave soundsuits. It was a memorable evening for my reporter’s eye, and hopefully, for you. Pick up your copy this weekend!
Next week Thursday June 6th, @lacocina is putting on an evening of storytelling called F&B: Voices From The Kitchen with the theme of RECIPE and its often overlooked role in our everyday lives. Stories of food in the myriad ways that that can be interpreted. My interview with Yewande Komolafe that came out this past weekend will be represented in the evening, with my drawings and her words. Contributors like Gustavo Arellano, Margo True and Monique Wray will delight with their tales. I won’t be there that evening, but in a sense, I will be. Go to VoicesFromTheKitchen dot Org to get your tickets!
Some stolen (illustrated) moments from last week’s #artbashsfmoma filled with art meeting culture: adults cavorting like kids during a Nick Cave soundsuit performance, watching people take in an impactful Warhol exhibit at night, spotting the artist @jr dashing around the museum hither and yon...these observations, and more, will show up in this weekend’s #ObservedSF column.
Today’s back page of the @sfchronicle_food section houses a story that I wrote, illustrated and designed on a day in the life of @yewande_komolafe. Yewande is a recipe tester, and spoke to me, in her own words, on her background, her testing process and her perspective on her industry. My interest in talking to her stemmed from a theory that I had, that recipe testers don’t get enough shine, and are the glue that holds the process of making public recipes together. The theme of the Food + Home section today is RECIPE, and the quote from Yewande that became the headline sums up a sentiment that I heard from her several times during my visit to her home a few weeks ago: “Recipes are a glue, sort of like a book of stories.” Amen.
The theme of ‘RECIPE’ is explored in this weekend’s special edition of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food + Home section. The collection of stories about the roles of recipes in our lives is a vivid and engaging subject to bite into (not sorry). This is my fourth time doing the opening and closing pages of the section, and it continues be a meaningful experience. The type is hand-done and reflects the organic nature of the stories. They were all made with love. Pick up your copy this weekend or peep the online edition: it’s worth your time. Thank you @paololucchesi for continuing this @sfchronicle_food tradition and thank you @lacocinasf for inspiring this section.
#Presscheck and #progess for the stunning photography of Morgan Ione @miyeyesseethis on the process and people behind the making of mezcal. Can’t wait to receive my copies. #DesignedByMcCalmanCo
There were many things to observe last night at #artbashsfmoma, and what I saw will be in my next #ObservedSF column (out June 2nd), but among my favorite moments of having the entire museum open for an evening were people quietly communing with art, like Andy Warhol’s ‘Rorshach’. Also, overheard from a woman next to me, as I drew: “I prefer his earlier work, I’m not feeling that pop shit.” 😎
I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing @yewande_komolafe last week in Brooklyn. We sat and had tea in her living room, while her 11 week-old daughter cooed in the background. She shared with me (and soon, you) her history growing up in Nigeria, her mathematical process in the kitchen, and her perspective as a professional recipe tester. I was fascinated by her story, because Yewande is one of only a literal handful of black women who are in this field. I was curious what path brought her here, what her average day entailed, and what she had to say about so few black women being in this very specific world. The results of our rich conversation will be in the @sfchronicle_food section this weekend. Here are a few Illustrated moments from our conversation. At one point, she said: “You can’t walk away from a recipe of you are testing, unless it tells you to.”, and I just thought that was just the most beautiful thing I’d heard all day.
@sarahderagon thank you for capturing Monday evening’s debut SHARE THE LOAVES event at @themillsf. My head is still spinning. We are so thrilled that @soleil_ho was our first guest. We talked about her role as @sfchronicle new restaurant critic (four months in!): how her background as a chef and writer (and server) informs her approach to critiquing restaurants and dining out, why she eschewed the ratings system, and her views of the current state of the business of restaurants in the Bay. Her responses (and her thoughtfulness and swagger) were 🔥🔥🔥. 100% of Monday proceeds went to a charity of our guests’ choosing. Soleil asked for us to give them to an abortion rights group and so we did. Thank you to my partner in crime @joseybakerbread for opening up the doors of the Mill to have these ongoing discussions about culture, politics and San Francisco’s evolution, AND as a gathering spot for people to meet each other and talk. Thank you to everyone who bought tickets and sold the event out. We’ll be announcing more events in coming weeks. Share the loaves, everyone. 📸 @sarahderagon