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Credit: Ashley Andel

Kafka's Coffee and Tea showcasing local artists

I'll just come right out and say it—my favourite Vancouver coffee shop is Kafka's on Main and Broadway.

Living Room Breathing Space by Ashley Andel

 

Kafka's, 2525 Main Street, Vancouver

 

On display until Sept. 6, 2011

 

604-569-2967

 

There are many reasons why, and that's not even taking into account how freakin' good their coffee is.

 

In fact, their coffee is probably wasted on me, as I'm one of those people who drinks mochas, or puts four spoons of sugar in a drip.

 

What brought me into Kafka's in the first place was the art. Art shows at Kafka's run about six weeks long, and are curated by Michael Schwartz, whose goal is to display the work of local, emerging artists.

 

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Kafka's fills their cups and their walls with art. Plus, they their make coffee in beakers! (Images by Daniella Cuiffa)

 

Ashley Andel on his artwork at Kafka's

Currently, Living Room Breathing Space, new artwork by Ashley Andel is the main attraction. I sat down with Ashley and this is what he had to say about himself, art in general and the show:

 

JD: What is this show about and what inspired the pieces in this show?

AA: "Living Room Breathing Space" is the appropriate title for a show at Kafka's Coffee and Tea that involved the clearing out of most of the art work in my living room. Now that my living room is clear, I have the breathing space to make something new. Seeing as I don't like to stick with just one particular style or method, I suppose my main inspiration could be summed up in what Bruce Lee once said: "I am no style; I am all style."

 

JD: If you could only create with three colours what would they be?

AA: Black, white and blue.

 

JD: If you could take a complete, all-expenses-paid retreat anywhere in the world for the purpose of creating art, where would you go?

AA: Well, I tend to make art in seclusion regardless of where I am, so the only reason I'd ever travel would be for the sake of my own leisure. Perhaps I would go the Czech Republic because I have some long-lost family there. It seems that the Czechs have a keen understanding of fantasy and quirk, so getting inspiration from there would be a given.

 

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Portrait of Helen E. by Ashley Andel.

 

JD: Do you listen to music when you work on your art?

AA: Making artwork feels a lot like making music, and I listen to a lot of different stuff. Particular favorites are the Klavierstücke of Brahms, smart electropop like Momus and cinematic, hyper-stylish Japanese pop like Pizzicato Five.

 

JD: What is one art related goal of yours?

AA: To make art that is better than whatever work I did last.

 

JD: What are three non-art related goals of yours?

AA: 1) travel 2) comfort 3) love

 

JD: Do you work better at night or during the day?

AA: That's a tough question. Due to the fact that I have a day job five days of the week, I have little choice but to squeeze artwork in at nighttime. I don't really know what it feels like to just wake up and make art, but I do know what it's like to fall asleep next to something in progress.


JD: What are your vices?

AA: Love. Alcohol. Shopping at Book Off. Raw salmon. Celery juice is my Valium. Mild voyeurism. Cheesecakes. Peculiar outfits.

 

JD: Why do you make art?

AA: Because I don't like watching television.

 

JD: What makes you happy? Sad? Angry?

AA: I think picnics with Earl Grey ice cream make me happy. Thinking about old girlfriends makes me sad. Names like "Pippa" and "Snooki" enrage me.

 

JD: What is something that you are trying to change or improve about yourself?

AA: I really have to stop thinking about cannibalism.

 

JD: What is one of your favourite non-art related things to do?

AA: I bake apple pies. But if I had the money to do it, every year I would buy a Wienermobile, rig it up with a remote control device, pack it full of explosives and repeatedly crash it into brick walls.

 

Kafka's is located at 2525 Main Street and will have Living Room Breathing Space on display until September 6, 2011.