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The Saratoga Falcon

Talent for art displayed at Big Basin Cafe

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Wren Sutterfield

Vivian Wang makes one of the signs for the Big Basin Cafe downtown.

Walking into the Big Basin Cafe, you notice the sounds of chatter lingering in the air along with the aroma of freshly ground coffee and baked goods. As you decide what to buy from an assortment of pastries, the creativity of the menu on the black chalkboard catches your attention.

The handwritten words and carefully designed border of the menu are the hard work of junior Vivian Wang.  On Oct. 14, Wang decorated the menu and sideboard at the cafe in downtown Saratoga.

Wang heard of this opportunity through her friends, juniors Christine Zhang and Caytie Lee Davenport, who work there.

“They knew about my notebook design business, DesignInfinity, and my overall interest in art, so they called me to ask if I would help design [the cafe’s] sidewalk menu board,” Wang said.

Wang said she “seized this opportunity, not because this would look good on my resume, but because of my love to design by free-hand.”

Zhang asked Wang to design the sideboard, which includes the Flavor of the Month from the coffee shop; it wasn’t until she started working on the designs that she met the manager. 

“The manager preferred a very traditional, down-to-earth, design with a hint of sophistication, and I did my best to attempt that,” Wang said.

Wang’s designs immediately became popular with the staff.

“After the manager told me she really liked my designs, she asked me if I could stay longer to help redesign their breakfast menu as well,” Wang said. “I ended working all the way from 8 a.m. to noon to finish both projects.”

Surprisingly, Wang has not taken any art lessons since kindergarten. Instead, Wang said she lets her “artistic skill develop on its own,” using magazines, interior design galleries, and modern art museums for inspiration.

Along with Wang’s designs in the Big Basin Cafe, senior Tiffany Lee’s artwork was also displayed through the help of Zhang and Lee.

“I was walking around with my artwork when [Davenport] saw it,” Lee said. “She came up to me saying this would look great in the cafe she’s working in and told me to bring it in anytime I want.”

Lee put together a series of four pieces that were put on display consisting of four pieces that was put on display in the cafe.

Lee used acrylic, a type of paint, and also tempera another painting technique she used on her paintings. Taking her inspiration from the art classes she takes at school and outside of school, Lee put a story behind each and one every one of her drawings.

“My artwork portrays how different people relate to each  other,” Lee said. “Like how relationships can make people happy or cause heartbreaks.”

Wang said she would love to design again for the Big Basin Cafe.

“[The manager] has already talked to me in coming back to [also] help offer face-painting services for little kids in events like the Witch Walk in downtown Saratoga,” Wang said. “I owe her so much in giving me all of these opportunities to express my love for art.”

Wang attributes much of her motivation to the support of her friends.

“It makes me smile to see my friends at school carrying around the notebooks I have designed for them,” Wang said. “I don't think I would be as successful without their dedicated support.”

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