This beginning project definitely took a lot of thought and reliance upon my art matrix. I decided to do a series because I have found that this makes it easier for me to process and express my ideas. If I have more space to spread out what I want to portray, whether on a physically larger canvas or within multiple pieces, then I can fully formulate my ideas and tell the story I want to articulate with images. Thus the end piece for my artistic voice is a four-part series showing the evolution of local coffee bean picking, roasting, brewing, and enjoying in the mountain regions of the Philippines.
This particular piece was directly inspired by my own time in the Philippines, spent in Sagada with the SGD Coffee company. I was able to visit the local coffee farmers and learn more about the local, sustainable business the SGD Coffee company is trying to promote. The coffee plant absorbs the soil and substances around it so anything planted near the plants comes through slightly in the aroma and taste of the actual coffee bean and plant. This makes attention to detail and the complexities of the plants’ growth extremely important which is part of the reason SGD works with local farmers. Also, working locally gives back exponentially to the local economy and community, something we should all think about a bit more before running to large corporate companies for everything.
Being a local consumer typically means you are being an ethical one. This idea is one of the things I want viewers to take away from my piece. This piece is meant to recognize those that put in the astonishing amount of effort to grow and produce truly exquisite coffee. It takes a personal touch to make something beautiful and you cannot get that uniqueness from large corporations like Starbucks or Caribou. You will never know the precise field in which your coffee beans came from or the name of the farmer who worked hard to treat the soil with just the right amount of flavors to produce your coffee’s aroma. You will be able to know all of that and more if you buy from small, local groups like SGD.
However, this premise is not just about coffee. We should be doing this more with even our local produce like corn, strawberries, cheese, etc. I am lucky enough to live in Wisconsin, which is largely agricultural so I have a lot of access to these fresh, local products. And it is important that we utilize these opportunities as our farmers are being devalued for all of their hard work. Thus, the story of ethical coffee making from across the world that I attempt to tell in this series works to bring the same message home- the more we support our local farmers, the more we support our own ethics and level of quality products that we consume.