This week you may see a change of scenery at the CREMA mothership: a full-wall installation courtesy of our own Stephanie Greene, barista and artist. Continuing our #TenTogether Celebration, we’ll be displaying a wall of portraits and stories from our favorite people, ah-hem, that’s you! We’re getting excited to see it ourselves and to share it with you. In expectation of what’s to come, we picked Stephanie’s brain about her process, how the idea came about and what’s been her favorite part of the whole journey. Read on!
Q1: Stephanie, we're looking forward to displaying your work at CREMA this summer - can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Stephanie: I’m an artist who cares a lot about people or a people person who cares a lot about art. That’s why I like working in coffee. I’m personally passionate about the convergence of art, creativity and healing…psychology as well. I attended College of Charleston for fine art photography and fell in love with working with film and doing things with my hands.
Something about me that is completely unrelated to my art: I love puns!
Q2: How long have you been at CREMA & what led you to us?
I moved to Nashville from Charleston two years ago and have been at CREMA for a year and a half - I worked at The Daily in Charleston and at a bakery called Brown’s Court, so I already had enough exposure to the coffee world to know that I was interested, but overall I was drawn to CREMA by the way that Ben & Rachel run their business. They love their employees and the community around them and also happen to put out an incredible product, combining two things that are most important to me. I already knew Nick [longtime CREMA employee and General Manager who recently moved to Columbus, Ohio] and the things Nick cares about I also care about, so he told me CREMA was hiring and hearing his perspective on working there ultimately helped me make the decision to apply.
Q3: How did you come up with the idea for the installation?
Knowing Ben + Rachel’s support for their employees and their desire to see us grow as humans, I approached Ben and told him about my background in fine art photography and my passions surrounding it. We took some time and just brainstormed about different ideas for what could go on the wall in CREMA. We tossed out all sorts of ideas and settled on the portrait wall as something that could tie in with #TenTogether, our year-long celebration of CREMA’s 10th anniversary.
Q4: How did your artistic process form around the concept you and Ben came up with together?
Hasselblad is the main camera I use. I love that it breaks down the barrier between photographer and subject because it’s a waist viewfinder which allows me to still interact with the person whose portrait I’m taking. I think it also allows the center to take down any guards or walls up. They were already in their environment, they had opened up to share their stories and so by the time we got around to the actual moment, a really genuine photo was taken.
I knew that I wanted it to cover the whole wall and wanted the effect to be “wow this is a really big community with a lot of stories that have come out of here.” I wanted it to be overwhelming in a good way - “wow!” I wanted it to be like a grid, but not quite as perfect. People’s stories are displayed in a streamer-like fashion to portray celebration.
Q5: While we’re on the subject - what is your favorite CREMA memory?
Ironically, this project has become my favorite CREMA memory. All of the trainings and education I’ve received through being a part of this company is another favorite - I’ll take the things I’ve learned with me anywhere and everywhere I go.
Q6: What’s been the most significant moment to you in this process?
I walked away from the third or fourth day of shooting and I was hit with the feeling that it's a really big privilege to be entrusted to tell peoples' stories, big or small. They’re handing me a piece of them and I get to display it and choose how to tell other people their stories. It’s an honor.
It made me wish I could be the vehicle to listen to and share peoples’ stories in other contexts beyond this one. When people share something that is important or exciting to them, they light up!
The installation will be displayed from July 19 through the end of the summer. Come in and see our homage to the community that has made CREMA who it is ten years after opening. Read stories of some of our most loyal customers and see if your picture is one of the ones adorning our wall!