Chairs

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Let me introduce you to Tacos Por Favor, the place I am currently immeshed.

The food is delicious and everyone feels at home, an atmosphere I’m certain is created by the owner, who one day told me he wants people to feel at home and that, among other things we talked about (including how he happened to be the owner), they get fresh ingredients every day.  One day recently when I was drawing there a man came up to me and told me that this used to be Dave Sweet Surfshop!  Mr. Sweet had opened it in 1956 and it was there until probably 1964.  Dave was this man’s father.  He remembered resin on the floor and the smell of it all around the shop. 

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Tacos Por Favor reminds me of a lunchroom more than a cafe or restaurant, (which I think helps to create it’s comfortable atmosphere), probably because of it’s long narrow size made up of two rooms, divided by just a half wall and doorway, and the light yellow color of the walls.  Also because many of the tables, in the second room, are pushed together to make longer tables, which remind me of a cafeteria somehow.  Incidentally to most people I’m sure but interesting socially to me, someone is lately forever changing their configurations.

 Another thing I notice, I’m sure because I am so fixated on the details of the place, is how the chairs in the main room are so different from those in the second room.  Aside from looking older, they have a more interesting design and hence, character.  I think they are the original ones.  The thing I always notice is the round hole in the middle of the back, and how these holes pop up wherever I look.  As a friend of mine recently said to me when she saw them in one of my drawings, “the chairs give it context”; I know she meant the drawing, but I also think they give the restaurant context.  It’s a rather obvious thing I suppose, but in each place I’ve gone to draw, I always notice the chairs.  I’m sure it’s because they are so ubiquitous and of course people are sitting in them, but still, they hold the place together.  And also, as shapes and forms, their arrangement is constantly changing thus a significant anchor of the composition of the room is always changing.  Some are grouped together, some hang out by themselves, and some are in an orderly fashion around each table.

Except for the patio at the LA County Museum where I absolutely loved the chairs, mostly because of their indescribably perfect shape and rhythm, initially I have not particularly liked the chairs in the different place I have worked.  They have mostly looked purely functional. That bothered me, because I like well designed things, and I thought, well, if there are so many of them, why not get a good design like at the museum, chairs so perfect that one could just draw them forever, or at least I could.  They are a perfect combination of form and function while the others are just function.  I have to admit though, even with my initial lack of interest in these ‘less than’ chairs, I always end up finding something in them to notice, even if it’s just their repetitive nature, which creates form in itself.

 

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