Calvin's art remains just as diverse as the areas that influence him. He draws inspiration from the 1980-1990s era filled with vivid memories of comic books, saturday morning cartoons and the effects of Reganomics on the African American culture. His strong respect for the creative works of John Coltrane and love for R&B music of the 1980-1990s influences many of his great works.
Oscar Joyo (b.1992,Lilongwi,Malawi). At a young age, he was introduced to art by his mother but his passion grew through animation, comic books, video games and film. He moved to the United States in 2000 from Malawi and lived in South Bend, Indiana where he continued to pursue art to serve as means of expression and communication.
After graduating high school in 2011,Oscar moved to Chicago to attend the American Academy of Art and explore the creative Chicago art scene. He graduated with a BFA in life drawing at the American Academy of Art in 2015. Technical training in traditional drawing skills from the Academy led him to find interests in professional illustration, graphic design, photography, and fine art.
Oscar currently lives in Chicago and has been involved in many artist exhibitions around Chicago. He has also been a part of showcases outside of the city such as The Society of Illustrators student exhibition in New York, Congressional Art Exhibition and Digital Arts Showcase in South Korea.
Summer Madness, AKA Summer in the City, AKA Everybody Loves the Sunshine, AKA...
Summer has landed in Chicago in the same way we've been known to descend on a tray of hot dogs - hard, fast, and sweaty. The days are getting longer, paleta men are hitting the streets, and things are opening up at a pace that a year ago seemed impossible. Hell, we even already got started in on the festivities by opening up the backyard patios and having artists paint up our picnic tables!
For us, the rising thermometer is always associated with an increased consumption of coffee cold, and lord do we love our coffee cold. Supercharged and super tasty, these ice cold babies are the lifeblood of many at music and beer fests everywhere and a daily requirement for function for yours truly (and hey, maybe you too!). After a year of our 2019 caterpillar selves metamorphosing into the beautiful 2021 butterflies we've all become, it's time to enter the world again with the energy of a people that have been inside for the better part of 14 months. There's so many things to do in a city crawling its way out of a pandemic, we'd be remiss if we didn't take the opportunity to present Summer activities and their perfect coffee cold counterparts.
Chocolate City - Sports!
Chocolate City is an all-time classic in the iced coffee world, the perfect balance of both get up and go with a taste that makes it easy to throw back time after time. It's also a great companion for those all-day skate sessions or a precursor to catching a day game. Hell, maybe you're just shooting hoops in the backyard. Either way, Chocolate City is the gold standard for a clean and tasty caffeine boost.
Vanilla Suburbs - Live Music!
With Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, AND Riot Fest all making their returns this year, you're gonna need some get up to get down if you're ever gonna survive all three weekends. Lucky for you the smooth sweetness of Vanilla Suburbs is there to serenade you with flavor and energy like Limp Bizkit is sure to do at this year's Lolla. Granted, in their case that flavor is hot dog water and ours is just like, vanilla? You know what, maybe this one got away from us...
Brown Acid - Brewery Bike Tour!
Sometimes the only thing better than an afternoon at a brewery is an afternoon of biking to a whole mess of them with your friends. Here's the problem - ya can't bike around drinking all day without ending up on your ass. Luckily you can keep things rolling and your mouth full of hops with our Brown Acid dry-hopped coffee cans.
Black Splash - Backyard BBQ/Park Hangs!
What's better than a casual hangout with some nice libations? Our Black Splash barrel aged iced coffee is the ideal warm-up for a full day of grilling and chilling with friends. Simultaneously sweet and boozy, Black Splash is a top tier cocktail companion or perfect to wash down a hamburger hot off the grill.
We are proud to announce our newest music collaboration with the dynamic duo Klevah and TRUTH a.k.a. Mother Nature! Their newest mixtape SZNZ off of Closed Sessions is a fifteen track instant CLASSIC featuring production work from the unstoppable Boathouse and guest verses served up from the likes of Brittney Carter, Valee, and Sir Michael Rocks. Honestly? We've had the thing on repeat since it dropped. We're not the only ones either, they've been reeling in acclaim from the likes of Complex and Pigeons and Planes. Overall SZNZ is brimming with bombastic, no bullshit attitude, meaning that we HAD to step in and provide a companion coffee to match! The can features album artwork and, in a first for us, a QR code that takes you straight to the mixtape so you have no fucking excuse to not check out the vibes. We also had the pleasure of hosting an interview in our Maggot Brain studio between Mother Nature, Boathouse, and Closed Sessions label co-founder Alexander Fruchter, followed by an in-studio performance of a few tracks off the album. You can watch that below.
This isn't our first time working with Closed Sessions or Boathouse, either. In 2019 we teamed up to put out a crazy double 7" celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a coffee and can to match. We've also hosted multiple members of the Closed Sessions crew during our annual Anniversary party and can tell you with certainty, they all rule.
About the Coffee
Inside the can, the coffee is a Sampacho from El Salvador that underwent an experimental fermentation process called Carbonic Maceration. Sampacho as a cultivar is a short and sturdy plant, about half the height of other varietals. It's perfect for the mountains of El Salvador where high winds can whip through farms and cause damage to taller coffee trees.
Once the cherries were picked at the peak of ripeness by the Cafe Tuxpal team, they were collected in an airtight container and flushed with carbon dioxide to force out any oxygen. This allows for extended contact between the seeds and the mucilage without outside exposure to air or foreign yeasts. After the coffee has time to chill in these containers, they're processed as a Natural coffee by placing the cherries directly onto raised drying beds and continuing fermentation. We ended up with a bright and acid driven profile, with notes of blueberry, grape, and dark chocolate showing themselves on the cupping table. You can grab the cans here.
If there's been one plant that's served as inspiration for DMC over the year, besides coffee of course, it's gotta be the Devil's Lettuce. You know: kush, cheeba, herb, gas. Whatever you wanna call it, it's been one of our muses since the get-go. With that in mind, Devil's Lettuce is one of our annual blends and offering to the gods of ganja, always accompanied by the artwork of DMC mainstay Jason Brammer and, often times, a mixtape to put you in the right headspace. We're going through designs past and the adjunct tunes to puff puff pass on the cheer during the kindest month of the year. But first, we sat down with Jason to discuss music, art, inspirations and more:
The mixtape for this release was smoked and curated by the Impala Sound Champions. This DJ duo can do no wrong in our eyes and this mix is blessed by Jah as the perfect companion to our coffee.
Devil's Lettuce 2015 mixtape once again features our green pals Impala Sound Champions blasting out the reggae love! Twist one up, hit play and pass it around friends!
Helping us smoke the peace pipe are our partners-in-crime, Impala Sound Champions, bringing a super heady ganga mix for everyone's dome!
Push Beats, the premiere beat makers & DJ collective from Chicago provide the mixtape for Devil's Lettuce 2017. Chalked full of token beats to make sure your head is securely unfastened for the musical ride. Released in a limited edition cassette tape via Press Pot Recordings
We did it again! Another year another SuperCollider series of highly curated - or should we say curated highly? - bands from the talented Dark Matter Coffee extended family. Catch up on all five nights with the music from the live stream below.
About the Artist
Hasani Cannon was inspired to pursue his dream of being an artist while participating as a middle school student in YEMBA’s Mentoring Empowerment Program. He was encouraged by Edward Redd, YEMBA founder, who served as a role model and provided Hasani with a drawing pad and colored pencils. Now an art major at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Hasani plans to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts.
Hasani created the original artwork for bags of coffee produced by Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago in an effort to give back to other youth, just like Mr. Redd did for him. Your purchase of special edition Dark Matter Coffee bags will support YEMBA’s efforts to nurture young people and strengthen communities.
YEMBA Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating our youth mentally, physically and spiritually with a life-long learning and service experience through group mentorship that will equip them with knowledge and tools for leadership development and success in life.
By purchasing this coffee, you are making a direct impact on the life of an at-risk youth in our community by allowing us to continue to enrich their lives through our mentoring initiatives.
Dark Matter Coffee, a Chicago coffee importer and roaster, is offering authentic chocolate made from Mexican cocoa beans at their Pilsen chocolate factory called Sleep Walk Chocolateria.
Fabian Alvarado, education and training guru for Dark Matter Coffee, said they work with cocoa bean distributors from Mexico.
"For us, it's about inclusivity and making sure we're bringing a product that is not just native to Mexico but to all of Latin America," he said.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria opened its doors in November. They offer traditional coffee drinks as well as their popular Mexican drinking chocolate. So far, the chocolateria has more than five different kinds of chocolate bars.
Alvarado said there are no additives in their products, just sugar and cocoa paste. All their chocolates are made in-house.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria also collaborates with local businesses. They've teamed up with local panaderias to sell their sweets, as well as local artists that have designed their chocolate bar wrapping.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria
1844 South Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
San Jeronimo Miramar in Guatemala is an extended home and family for DMC. On Monday, March 9th the Atitlan Volcano, on which this farm is situated, is undergoing a major forest fire.
San Jeronimo Miramar is dedicated to natural preservation and protected major portions of their land by allowing the flora and fauna to flourish without cultivating the land. The highest point of their farm is an untouched jungle and is currently being decimated - this area and other reserves around the Volcano of other Farms is one of the last places you can observe the Quetzal and Horned Guan. Forecasting the fire's path, we are all extremely concerned the fire will continue to travel down the mountain and destroy significant parts of their farm.
More than 300 people in the local community work on this land - and many more farms and communities will be affected as well.
We are asking for emergency relief for all the people of San Jeronimo Miramar and everyone helping. All we can do at this moment is act quickly to save as much of the farm and its surrounding wildlife as possible.
It has been estimated that $50,000 is needed to acquire resources and set up the logistics to halt the progress of this fire. So far we have teamed up with Amigos del Lago Atitlan, Los Tarrales Reserve, Fina Santo Tomas Perdido and San Jeronimo Miramar to raise $30,000. We humbly request you to please donate what you can to this cause to impact an unfolding emergency situation.
All funds will be give to *Asociacion de Reservas Naturales Privadas* to combat the fire. The GoFundMe can be found here.