So it only seems fit and proper that a coffee cup should serve as canvas for Sinclair’s work as part Cafe Steam’s first limited edition Artist Series.
There’s only one problem. The cups have been flying off the shelves, and by the time you finish reading this article, they could be gone.
But don’t despair. More coffee cup artist series are planned. The next one will feature art by Beth Sievers, whose work can be seen hanging on Cafe Steam’s walls in downtown Rochester. A third run is also planned, but that artist remains wrapped in secrecy for now.
William Forsman, general manager and head barista at Cafe Steam, said the coffee cup artist series idea was a perfect blending of the cafe’s mission. Cafe Steam promotes local artists. It also serves coffee. Where else would the art go?
“In its inception, we knew we wanted to do several runs of these,” Forsman said. “Our mission at Cafe Steam is to love local and to support local arts. And we’re trying to do that in every kind of way we can.”
Sinclair was the logical choice to launch the first series. The things that bond Sinclair to Cafe Steam are almost too numerous to mention, but it generally starts with a cup of coffee. His art also hangs from Cafe Steam’s walls.
“I’m addicted to coffee, so I love the idea,” Sinclair said. “I love the coffee shop. It’s like a second office.”
Sinclair also helps run the 535 Gallery at 535 6th Ave. NW, Rochester, and Forsman is often there for gallery openings, serving coffee to patrons.
Sinclair’s interest in the visual arts encompasses painting, illustration and pen-and-ink drawing. His arms are testament to his enjoyment of traditional tattooing. He is also drawn to anchors, tentacles, squids, and bold heavy black lines against a white background. His coffee cup is wrapped in his trademark tentacles, with the Cafe Steam logo in the foreground.
“It’s very reflective of Nick’s style,” Forsman said. “He’s been getting more into the tentacle work. There is something so passionate about what he does, because you’ll see him start to incorporate more and more of an element into future works.”
The coffee cups cost $15. The idea was to create a limited-edition series, a sense of semi-exclusivity, so it was by design that relatively small number artists cups were created. The hope was that the mugs would sell well, but that desire was secondary to promoting the work of local artists.
“It’s done a lot better than we expected,” Forsman said. “It gives people a little bit of pride in being regular customers.”
And who knows? Maybe in time, a person will notice you drinking a cup of coffee and ask: “Where did you get the Sinclair?”