Cafe Artist of the Month: Sierra Dufault

Located in Edgewater, one of the country’s most eclectic locales, the Metropolis Café is relaxed and without attitude. Our customers come from all walks of life and we love ‘em all. And they seem to love our coffee and tea, our sweet and savory bites, and our accomplished vegan menu. Did we mention art, music…? Stop by–we’ll fill you in.

It’s a special art exhibit on display at Metropolis Cafe through the end of 2010. The featured artist is one of our own highly valued baristas, Sierra Dufault (Sierra on Tumblr).

A creative jack of all trades, Dufault lives art as part of her everyday life, doing so across multiple creative formats. Formerly a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Dufault is an illustrator, painter, singer, film director, actress & BARISTA!

We’re not sure how she gets the time because she’s also a productive member of a creative company, The Inconvenience. Focusing on art, theater, music, and dance, it’s a wide-ranging, culturally-inspired group, the kind we love. Catch them monthly at the Viaduct Theater with other local artists.

As far as her current exhibit, there are 18 pieces on display, much of it acrylic with collage and marker work on top of that. All pieces are for sale and are available upon purchase.

Who Is Sierra Dufault?

She is, in her own words, “…originally from the great and misunderstood state of Texas.” Dufault has lived in Chicago four years now, but began to root through her artistic passions early in life.

“I grew up in Midland, Texas, a small Texas town, with hippie parents and a mom who owned a vintage clothing store,” she recalls. “I connected more to drawing and living in my own head. Started off from there, always doodling and creating and making things up. I’m still always drawing on random bits of paper and what not.

“Boredom is my own personal hell,” she finishes with emotion. Up until 2005, she considered herself a “girl who did art,” but while hosting a show, she was approached by a lady advising art school.

Dufault thought it sounded interesting, but not necessarily possible. However, it ended up this lady worked for admissions at SAIC. After sending in her application, the same lady called a month later: Dufault had been accepted, and it was time for her to move to Chicago. “At SAIC, I ended up studying film editing, sound editing and screen printing–and doing independent comics and publishing,” says Dufault. “I’m taking time off of that right now, working to get my degree.”

Dufault is working, creating, painting and “figuring stuff out,” she says. “I’m working on graphics and watercolors, and also creating a bunch of characters. I always enjoy when artists have characters, like Mike Mitchell,” who made a name for himself with his ‘I’m With Coco’ poster for Conan O’Brien (see it here). “He went to school here in Chicago and I was able to talk art with him at a chance meeting,” she continues. “I guess it’s the whole idea that, no matter where you’re from and who you are, you might identify with a character I’ve created.

Her other artistic design influence of the moment, Lisa Frank. “She did designs for pencils, school supplies, T-shirts…so many people my age (she’s 28 years old) had the folder she did with unicorns on it, or something else of hers. “I like the idea of being iconic, but also accessible because I feel strongly that art is for everyone.”

Sierra, Meet Metropolis; Metropolis, Meet Sierra

When Dufault was accepted at SAIC, she said yes. We met her soon thereafter. “I needed a change and so I came up here for a week and stayed at a hostel and Metropolis Cafe was one of the first places I went to when I came to Chicago. I got off the train from Midway and our room wasn’t ready, so we went to Metropolis,” says Dufault.

As mentioned, she is now a barista at Metropolis Cafe. She worked at Starbucks for five years before coming to us and has quickly become a part of the team. “Metropolis feels more like a family; it’s so busy and insane, but at the same time, it’s not ‘hurry up and make these drinks and get the line moving.’ We still have conversations with people and are part of the neighborhood.”

And where is she at with her beverage philosophy these days? “I’ve been having a lot of fun making tea mixes and my favorite drink, a Syncha Cherry Rose,” she says. “It’s green tea mixed with blueberry rooibos and it’s pretty fantastic.” She’s also in the running for a future Drink of the Month at the Cafe. Her best shot at being featured so far: the Huckleberry Chai.

Now you know Dufault, her inspirations and her influences, her plans and her origins. Now, stop in at Metropolis Cafe, see her art, see her and see yourself out when you’re finished–preferably with art by Dufault.

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