cartography and life behind the counter

i never knew a chicken salad sandwich would make such a delightful breakfast.

i’ve decided that learning things like this will be normal now that i work at an art store, but we aren’t your typical art store. we are not a machine buzzing with employee badge numbers. we are employee owned and operated and we are the opposite of all things corporate (phew!). therefore, we are not unhappy employees who cringe at the thought of their next day of work. we are happy employees who look forward to helping people find things like acrylic gouache (yes, it exists) and carbon pencils. and we have regulars. very happy regulars, in fact. regular customers who stop in just to chat and will, on the spot, make you a chicken salad sandwich (we had no cutlery, so a pencil was used to ‘spoon’ out the helping of chicken salad and hands were used to rip apart the slice of gouda that accompanied it). it was all so charming. this job is charming and i am adoring every minute of it as i meet all these customers, regulars, and sometimes even their very adorable dogs. (and i can’t believe i just googled ‘chicken salad sandwich’).

in other news, remember that t-shirt company i worked for in Seattle ? t h e i r b a a a c k . . well, not really. that company is wonderful and the people who own it are wonderful and the people who work there are wonderful – so, obviously, we’ve kept in touch – i would be an idiot not to, quite frankly. if you have no idea about what the company does – my feeling like their cartographer will totally confuse you. i’ll try to explain, in a nutshell :: Destee-Nation Shirt Co. seeks out local businesses. i’m talking about the ‘mom n pop’ type businesses that we all frequent. our favorite coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and so on – the small businesses of america who are trying their hardest to survive in this economy. the businesses that put their love and hard work into every drop you drink and every sandwich you eat. you know what i’m talking about and now you know why this company is what i consider awesome.

so, in an effort to promote these businesses, Destee was created. it was their way of giving back to the communities that had served them for so many years. it’s a t-shirt company that makes and sells t-shirts for all of these local joints and promotes them on their website, encouraging locals and tourists alike to frequent and support said businesses. it’s kind of a fool-proof business model – how can you not love that?

in order to reach businesses all over the country, a ‘Road Scout’ was placed in an old school suburban with an even more old school streamline trailer hitched to it and sent on his way. his name is Gabe. Gabe rocks – in a huge way and i only kind of a little bit (ok, fine, maybe a lot) hate him for this being his job. his instructions :: drive through america, seek out these local favorites, drop in, have a beer, chat with the employee(s), and see if you can’t get a hold of the owner so you can discuss the possibility of becoming part of the Destee club. and i only kind of a little bit (ok, fine, maybe a lot) hate Gabe even more because he is personable, kind, and a really great writer – he really is the perfect guy for the job. for every town he visits and every bar or coffee shop he drops into, he tells his story/stories. they are amusing and heartfelt and honest and you ought to read them.

as Gabe makes his way around the country, i’ve been making maps to represent his route. being a huge lover of maps in the first place (i’m a little bit obsessed wih the concept of mapping), this kind of project pretty much rocks my world ::

above is the final product that’ll be featured on their website as Gabe works his way back from Texas to Seattle. he’ll be on a brief hiatus and then will venture out to the midwest and beyond. yes, we love to hate him and we hate to love him.

[google images][sharpie & paper & digital application]

jessi

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Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt)

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