ARThound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

Rancho Gordo’s Steve Sando has a new bean portrait by Jason Mercier

Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando commemorated 20 years of glorious beans with a portrait from Jason Mercier. Image: Rancho Gordo

Pop trash artist Jason Mercier fascinates me with his meticulous mosaic portraits. He’s outdone himself with his new portrait of Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo beans—he’s captured Steve’s essence in heirloom beans.  As materials go, the humble heirloom bean is just about perfect, varying in color, size, and texture and it has great karma.

A pic of the artwork arrived in my email this morning in Steve’s e-letter celebrating his 20th anniversary selling beans.  As Steve points out, glamorous celebs of a certain era used to appear in print, draped in Blackgama furs as part of Blackgama’s “What becomes a legend most?” ad campaign (1968-94).  Today’s legends are captured in Jason Mercier’s mosaics—Snoop Dogg sculpted out of weed, Steve Jobs’ 2006 portrait revisioned from 20 pounds of e-waste, Amy Sedaris out of her own trash, Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus out of candy.  Amazing how blobs of material in deeply saturated colors, arranged just so, can cohere into vivid likenesses.

Steve Sando is an artist in his own right: his heirloom beans look like gems, taste fabulous and have the most interesting names—Cicerchia, Vaquero, Alubia blanca, Mayocoba, Yellow Eye. It’s hard to buy just one bag when confronted with these enticing beauties. Sando has traveled the world in search of rare and delicious artisan beans, written passionately about his finds, respectfully crediting the farmers he collaborates with and created a gourmet brand that has become a staple in the culinary world.  He started selling at the farmers’ market in Yountville two decades ago and built Rancho Gordo slowly.  He now sells direct to consumers all over the US, Canada, to restaurants and retail stores.  He grows in California, all along the West Coast, Mexico, Italy and Poland.  He’s planning a 20th anniversary celebration at the his storefront in Napa, after Covid.  If you’d like to know more, he’s been profiled wonderfully in the New Yorker by Burkhard Bilger (The Hunt for Mexico’s Heirloom Beans).  Even better: subscribe to his newsletter and check out them beans for yourself: https://www.ranchogordo.com.

March 13, 2021 - Posted by | Art, Food, Gardening | , , , , , ,

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