It’s about the Art, dude!


Jun 06, 2009


Reading this, I think Ethan makes one good point: no one is perfect and  unfortunately we do live in a time and place where even posting a comment to the Cloud is emitting tundra-melting CO2.  In this sense, we are all hypocrites and posers. However, I also think Ethan misses a larger point.

Assume for a second that artisan roasting is akin to Art. . .

Art isn’t MAINLY about the product.  It’s about the process.  Art is verbular (if that’s a word).  It’s the process and development of the artist which is reflected in what he or she makes of an object or even of life itself.  Art is an individual activity.  Individuality is its essence.

For me Duane is above all a coffee auteur.  From this small thing he created Stumptown.  When I buy his coffee I am acknowledging HIS accomplishment.  I am not a big enough fool to think drinking a certain coffee or buying any product REALLY says anything TRUE about me other than I have enough money to buy it.

Unfortunately for Duane, as you market your art, you are essentially attempting to transfer your genius to a product, and then to a customer who can afford to pay. This process is largely psychological. However,  transference like this is at the heart of most marketing today.  It is also at the root of consumerism.  Consumerism destroys souls and the physical environment too, which of course is bad (and actually boring from the perspective of personal growth). But we do this to ourselves. 

Ethan seems to forget that “consumption” of anything is the problem and not the fact that some guy from Portland who a particular magazine has styled a “Messiah” is doing his best to keep it as real as he can.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.  I think that Duane’s creation is amazing, and I am so pleased to know the genius behind it, even if just superficially, in this one facet of coffee.  Duane has CREATED his magnificent art and presented it to the world.  What the rest of us do with it is our problem not his.

I won’t address the comments about Portland here.

Eric Perkunder in Seattle


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