College-town coffee shops are unlike coffee shops anywhere else, organically brewed beans, heavily populated with skinny jeaned-wearing hipsters, and an atmosphere that wreaks of creativity and intellect. Cartel Coffee Lab, located on the corner of University and Ash, next to the beaming campus of Arizona State University, fits perfectly into this stereotype. The place is flooded with heavily caffeinated artists and students, therefore it comes as no surprise that they support their local patrons by allowing artists to showcase work on their bold, aesthetically pleasing walls.
I recently attended the opening reception of local artist and friend, Pattie Harmdierk’s Photographic exhibition at Cartel, that will be up until the end of February. I strongly recommend for people in the area to check out Cartel while Pattie’s work is up. Not only do I believe that Pattie’s work perfectly compliments the spunky and innovative decor of Cartel, but she also manages to connect with her audience through her 25 image series, glorifying her and her daring roommates, spontaneous and bizarre college life.
Pattie’s work is just so attractive. Her eye for bright colors and unexpected vulnerability lures, causing me to do a double take and absorb what I am really looking at. She perfectly captures all the pivotal moments of her two year experience of living in a house of girls, with no limitations or authority, and those moments are anything but conventional. A pink worm crawling over a worn photograph of John Lennon, psycadelic cupcakes, countless girls running around candidly in their underwear, and a found turquoise striped lizard, are among the many striking large photographs that invade Cartel. The combination between the vibrant and unexpected, the familiar with the spontaneous, and the sense of mortality with the uninhibited vulnerablility is what not only makes me want to look at these photographs, but more importantly BE IN these photographs.
Pattie captures more then a specific moment in time. She is capturing a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is wild, and free, and just so, well… cool.