Cafémantic is an upscale yet cozy  coffee shop located in Romantic Willimantic, CT. The atmosphere there is contemporary with a spark of something a little special. They serve fantastic coffee (I recommend the chai latté, actually) as well as an array of pastries and sandwiches.

Yes, call that a plug if you’d like, but for Cafémantic it is well-deserved. Owner Andee Gütt has been involved in the Willimantic art and culture scene for quite a while now. He was able to see potential in a town that others (admittedly myself included) could not. The result: a café worth traveling thirty minutes for a coffee, lunch, or live music. Yeah, sure, Starbucks is great and all. But, for a really good cup of joe, give this place a shot. If you are a student at nearby ECSU or UCONN, you’d be  a fool not to check it out.

The topic of discussion, though, is a marketing/art collaboration I participated in for the benefit of Cafémantic. Andee’s plan is to add beauty to his little chunk of Willimantic and hope it spreads through this “underachieving yet full-of-potential” town (that’s my quote, not his). It makes sense, then, that Andee’s current marketing campaign utilizes this mission as a way of communicating his product to potential customers.

As a way of making a huge visual statement, Andee commissioned me to create four large posters to display in the front windows. These posters would put Andee’s baristas center-stage, making them sort-of local celebrities from their larger-than life depictions.

My instructions were to take portraits of these baristas in an “element” theme which would promote various food or beverage items. I went a step further and created a character for each barista to play, further enhancing the element theme.

Vishnu is meant to represent earth in this scenario. A four-armed barista pours a latté in a representation of coffee, the lifeblood of any true café.

A Devil is shown to represent the element of fire. In the image, a gluttonous devil devours a croissant to promote Cafémantic’s delicious pastries.

Frozen drinks and water (in its frozen form, obviously) is anthropomorphic in the depiction of an Ice Goddess adorned with icicle fingers and a frosty complexion.

Finally, we have air. This is a representation of tea which is gracefully blown from the hands of an Angel.

You can check out these 3-foot by 4-foot posters on display now. You can even take them home in the form of  a little promo card that lets you earn free coffee and treats!

I had a LOT of fun with this project, and we already have started planning on our next window display project. I hope anyone nearby will check it out and help support this awesome, local, individually-run café so that Andee can continue to make Willimantic a tolerable place.

For more info on Cafémantic, check out these links: