54.1 F

Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Paintings, pictures and Panama roast

MUSE profiles the work of local artists whose art is displayed at two downtown Davis cafés. Check out our article next week for a continuation of the series.

Carol Trieste

Water glistening next to rocky slopes and evergreen trees. A dappling of pink leaves amongst blinding yellow foliage. Prayers blowing in the wind. These are just a few of the images currently adorning the walls at Crepeville on 330 C St.

Featured in the paintings and photographs are typically scenes of nature and the outdoors that contribute to a tranquil café ambiance. There are, however, no strict limitations as to what kind of art can be displayed.

Two of the artists currently featured are Carol Trieste of Suisun Valley and Erin Gardner of Davis.

Trieste, who began with a solo show at the Sacramento Crepeville before getting her artwork displayed at the Davis Crepeville, enjoys landscape painting.

“I am completely gaga about the change of seasons,” Trieste said. “Nothing sets me in motion more than the orchards in bloom or a raging field of yellow mustard.”

As a girl, Trieste took family road trips from Brooklyn to their upstate New York farm. It was on these trips that Trieste drew inspiration, looking out the car window and beholding a diverse array of landscapes.

After becoming a part of the ’60s artistic and cultural revolution in Greenwich Village, she earned a scholarship to study oil painting at New York University. Since then, Trieste has lived in many countries including Spain and Morocco – even opening a solo show in Torremolinos, Spain.

Her work has been displayed at the Pacific Design Center, the Armand Hammer Museum and Culture Center, and New York Art Expo.

Trieste speaks of her travels with much enthusiasm and fond recollection.

“I love to travel; my sport is looking at new places,” Trieste said. “In Morocco, every shop is a study in arts and crafts. In Italy, everything is art: every doorknob, every hinge, every sculpting. And in Watsonville and Vacaville the fields of flowers bloom.”

Trieste did not allow an unfortunate experience that occurred in the mid ’80s to extinguish her optimism and her drive to paint. After a fire destroyed 16 years worth of her work at her home in Malibu, she has since worked hard to recreate her artistic portfolio.

“I’ll never stop,” she said.

Erin Gardner

Erin Gardner shares the Crepeville walls with Trieste. Her photographs display vibrant autumn colors and brilliant scenes from nature.

Gardner, who had lived in Davis for about 26 years, happened to be in Crepeville one day when a man sitting near her caught a glimpse of her photographs.

“I’d been looking through them on my laptop,” Gardner said. “He suggested that I talk to the Crepeville management about getting them on display.”

A month later, Gardner went back in to Crepeville and finally gathered the nerve to ask. The manager said he liked her work and that she could put up five of her photographs in the restaurant. It has since then expanded to an entire wall.

“This is the first and only place I’ve ever shown my work, and it’s been such a luxury to have a whole wall to myself.”

Gardner said that her art process is quite sporadic. Instead of seeking out places to take good photographs, she prefers to capture the natural beauty that she discovers unexpectedly. One of the aims of her photography, she declared, is to preserve fleeting moments and beautiful intricacies.

“When you are out in the world, or even in your own backyard, there are so many gorgeous places and moments,” Gardner said. “We can only linger on a scene for a short while before moving on to the next thing.

“To remember it all would be impossible, but taking photographs helps to keep it alive. It’s as close as I can come to never letting those sights and feelings go.

“Being able to share them has been a wonderful experience for me, and I’m glad that they’ve found a temporary home on the walls of Crepeville.”


Ciocolat is home to many photographs: of human expression, of the abstract, of nature. The faces of children: sullen, happy, giddy, contemplative. A puddle reflecting a teenage girl wearing blue jeans and standing underneath branches of autumn leaves. A wooden paper clip standing on its hind legs on charcoal-colored carpet. An expanding tunnel of polychromatic light with an indecipherable purple object at the end of the tunnel.

Kate Hutchinson, owner of Ciocolat, is in charge of what art goes on the walls. Hutchinson said in an e-mail interview that she looks for art that fits in with the atmosphere of the café. It also must cater to her eclectic taste.

She requires that all art be framed when it goes up on the walls, and said that if an artist is interested in displaying art in other venues around town he or she can contact the ArtAbout coordinator at the Downtown Business Association. Sales of art are modest at Ciocolat, Hutchinson said.

“An artist usually sells one or two pieces in the two month time span that the art is up. Sometimes, however, there are customers who remember art from a couple of shows ago that will make purchases at a later date.”

Current artists include winners of the Davis Teen Photo Contest put on by the City of Davis. Entries were accepted from students at Davis schools in grades 7 through 12.

“I found out about the contest through the Davis Enterprise, which published an article about the competition,” said Lilian Krovoza, first place winner of the color division of the contest and a junior at Davis Senior High School.

Krovoza said that the picture turned upside down is of a puddle with the reflection of her friend Drew Kelly. She captured the photo in the hallways of Davis Senior High School.

“I was headed to my photography class when I noticed a particularly reflective puddle underneath some beautiful trees,” Krovoza said. “Immediately I asked Drew to come pose as my model.”

Erin Childs, a senior, got her photographs displayed on the Ciocolat walls after winning first place in the black and white division.

“My photography teacher from the previous year had told me about it,” Childs said. “I’d also entered last year and won first, so I thought I might as well do it again this year.”

Childs said that the photograph she took was of her friend’s little sister and that she got to take it in the photography studio in downtown Davis.

“I chose her because she is literally the easiest little girl to take pictures of,” Childs said.

Visit Ciocolat for more information on getting your art displayed.

ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here