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Finding the Line: A Conversation with Jourdon Gullett

With our special-release El Brujo live and decked out in commemorative artwork, we recently sat down with one of the artists involved in the project, illustrator Jourdon Gullett, and talked about his process:

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Humbly Gullett described himself and his El Brujo work, on Instagram, as “a dude and his drawing.” It’s evident to us though that his El Brujo illustration is more than just a drawing. The artwork’s style makes it undeniably a full expression from an immensely talented artist.

With Jourdon back at Metric West Fulton roasting works, we discussed his artwork and style more in-depth. Quickly the conversation digressed (from his approximate 6-years as a professional artist) to a slew of topics varying in seeming relevance. Our conversation was a perfect analog to how he described his process. It was free-flowing; it was a stream-of-conscience. From the exterior, it may have felt incidental, but from within it, everything was perfectly in-line.

Jourdon, wearing Uprise skate merch, referenced his youth on a skateboard. He mentioned his younger self’s mantra of “skate fast” and how it influences his work. On a board, there’s little room to think. If you do too much, you wipe out (something I have personal expertise in from visits to the skatepark). This concept of just doing the work, operating instinctively, lives in Gullett’s El Brujo project. Gullet found balance under an active pen layering smoke and abstract shapes to anchor negative space and image, in-process.

As he sipped his go-to coffee drink (a mug of coffee with a pinch of cream and sugar), we continued our conversation. Jourdon’s calm energy alluded that there’s “so much going all the time” that he finds refuge in the simpler things these days. Whether it’s camping with the family, skating casually, or working on his “damn van,” he finds joy in the moments away from the everyday chaos. Perhaps intentional or not, this sentiment is in his El Brujo work. Amongst the seeming maximalism, there is a specific logic, a simple stream-of-conscience of a talented dude, finding balance.

Introducing Mark Mann, Metric's Director of Operations.

To help introduce our newest Metric family member, we sat down with Mark and asked him a series of hard-hitting questions about Chicago, his love for coffee, and Malort:

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What are you most excited about living in Chicago?

Just about everything. I'm originally from Wheaton, IL and even though I've spent nearly half my life in Denver, this move feels like coming home. All of my family is from this area since way back in the late 1800s when they immigrated here from Germany. There's a tradition that I'm excited to discover and explore. As far as actually being in Chicago, I'm very looking forward to the food, the beer, the culture, the diversity, the actual seasons, the abundance of classic dive bars, lakes, music, and so much more!

What's your favorite thing about coffee?

Coffee has the unique ability to bring people together much like other hospitality establishments (like a bar or restaurant). The direction that the industry is heading is exciting and innovative, and it's a fun time to be involved!

What’s your go-to coffee drink?

Usually, drip coffee, but my old-school go-to is an iced Americano in a cortado glass.

Outside of coffee, what gets you excited?

Music, eating, biking, walking, cooking, animals, writing, crosswords, and dreaming of solutions to everyday problems.

I hear you have "cat children"… Can you elaborate on the species of your offspring?

Evelyn is a cross-eyed sassy lady. She's a mutt of probably a Siamese and a Calico, but she rules the roost and isn't afraid to tell you! Charlie is our spirited little fella. He's an orange tabby, and we think he's majority Maine Coon. He is a tender soul but sometimes plays just a little too hard. I have cat pictures... SO MANY CAT PICTURES... want to see them? :)

Lastly... Malort?

I love Malort. In the world of being a conscious taster, it's one of the unique taste experiences. So seldom do we as Americans get to taste something one-note bitter. Other cultures use tamarind or some other more bitter ingredients to cook with, and I think everyone should spend more time with the bitter portion of their palette. It's a nice break from sweet bourbons and salty french fries!

Destination Unknown

Recently Xavier Alexander, Metric's Co-Owner and Director of Coffee, traveled to Peru. While visiting David Flores' farm, he was particularly affected. Below is a short travel note Xavier wrote processing his journey: 

"About 3 hours north from Jaen lies the sector El Diamanté, a district of San José de Lourdes (which is also a province of San Ignacio in the Cajamarca department).

To reach El Diamanté by vehicle, we crossed the river on a shanty river barge passing over choppy waters and into a beautiful, biodiverse region with one of the most stable microclimates (low, relatively stable humidity) I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Here, young David Flores, 23 years of age, works his 5 hectares of land with incredible passion and drive which you can clearly taste in the product of his work.

In this photo, you see the path we took to reach the summit. There, we scoped out David's trees- with a pleasant surprise as we discovered he also had old Typica trees at a higher elevation. We excitedly recommended him to process them separately and send us samples from this.

Because of El Diamanté's unique environment, coffees here are extremely floral and show a complexity that is akin to Ethiopian coffees but has their own unique characteristics that run parallel to the work that David puts into his land.

My journey still continues here, learning more about this magical place, a place with food and coffee unlike any other, a country so rich in natural resources and farms that may take hours to get to on foot but are full of beauty and surprises."

 

Image courtesy of the talented IG user @joshhockin, a fellow traveler on this origin trip with Xavier.