Imagine a cafe inspired by a real street and the subject of a ton of tales. Daphne Cafe in Perth Australia by Adam Mitchell and his partner Sophie have opened such a space. Within it, they also have a dedicated wall of timber skeleton to host art as if it were in their own home. Their cafe, an extension of a house itself, currently exhibits the work of Michael Patrick Timmins. More than coffee is shipped here.
c.: What did you take for coffee this morning, or day given the time that you are answering this question?
Adam Mitchell.: Every morning i start with a Long Black (Americano) and a cigarette, it’s a two bean blend from two different farms in Ethiopia and is a big punchy fruit bowl of flavour. I will only ever start my day with a strong black coffee.
c.: How does coffee play in your creativity given that you now also own a coffee shop, a new one in fact.
a.m.: Coffee is a ritual that I feel must be adhered to before any creative practice, it is the calm before the storm weighing out a dose of beans, the grind and the four minute wait for the french press. It’s a time to think about what is to come, your sketch pad in the studio waiting a fresh roll of film eager to jump in the camera, all of it waiting until you have that coffee in your hand.
c.: I love the name Daphne, what inspired it for your space?
a.m.: Daphne, it was a simple name that we chose, it started from the gallery we started in North Perth the Daphne collection in which we exhibited emerging artists within a domestic environment, which we felt was a bit richer than the typical white box of a gallery.
It was named after the street we live on, which is one of the older streets in our city, it is shaded by Moreton bay fig trees and lined by federation era houses. So naturally when we opened the cafe it was an extension of the Daphne collection so we thought we will stick with the name. Since calling it Daphne we have heard stories from what our customers know of the name, a greek tale of an amours apollo chasing Daphne whom loathes Apollo, she calls her father Peneus to turn her into a tree to escape him and also flower that shares the same name.
c.: For most artists exhibiting in a coffee shop, they don’t also own it. Why the decision to have art up in your space? And, what do you think the value of art in a coffee shop environment is?
a.m.: For Sophie and I art is fundamental, it is something we have based our lives on, I have studied visual arts and Sophie architecture and art history. Having art in a cafe isn’t just something to fill space on the wall, it entices fascination and feeling for patrons of the cafe. This being a continuation of a private gallery gives us an opportunity to show work to a greater audience, people whom may not be exposed to the local art scene.
c.: The current exhibition is art work by Michael Patrick Timmins. How did you decide on his work for an exhibition?
a.m.: The wall it is adhered to is built for the café, it is a grid of panels made from MDF mounted on a timber skeleton. Which is an ongoing feature wall that will be exhibiting a range of art, we also have shelving units built for the skeleton so we can show sculptural works. As for partners I used to work with Michael Timmins in a camera store we both share a love for photography but treat it quite differently, I always treated as a conceptual artists tool for documentation focusing on film mediums, where he is more technical, pushing current technologies to the limit.
The work is purely focused on the symmetry and geometry, Mikes abstract talks about the number of shipping containers in the world, matching the entire population of Australia. Fremantle is a port town to the south of Perth in Western Australia it is only a 30 minute drive but has a rich culture and has always seemed older than Perth it is a more laid back town, more organic, I would even say more spiritual. Within Fremantle is the docks which are always moving shifting, all cargo comes though there T
The photos are taken in a section called Rous Head which is a storage point for sea containers, there are a few lopping roads so you can drive into it and be alone amongst a tetris like temple of colour, many photographers myself included have been there to shoot it, but I feel Mike has nailed it, he has captured it perfectly.
c.: He has nailed it and captured a wanting to peer deeper even from this side of the world. I was also drawn by the symmetry of the display of works even though I couldn’t zoom in, that spoke volumes for me. What about Tiimmins’ work did you feel suited the trope of your space in order to have it in an exhibition?
a.m.: Daphne is made of clean lines an almost minimal cafe, small boxed plywood stools, a long counter top. We have very muted colours in the cafe. Mikes work shares the same angles and line work and perspective but adds a huge punch of colour, the bright red containers against the blue sky make them stand out in our little space. Being a cafe that is focused on local produce it is nice to have Art work up that is from our home.
c.: Lastly, what kind of coffee do you serve and for a new coffee drinker, what would you suggest they order as a starter.
a.m.: Always a flat white it’s the great Australian coffee its creamy, easy to drink and not as milky as a Latte. With our blend of beans it has a nice nutty caramel flavour, just don’t add sugar its sweet enough.
To keep a watch on Daphne, its space and upcoming art see it here.