Third-year Art History major Phoenix Jensen is both shocked and elated to have landed an internship at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Jensen has always dreamt of running a museum packed full of artwork from the likes of Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe, so working as a barista at the AGO café has been an absolute dream come true. Immediately, Jensen’s artistic prowess has come in great use at his new job. Using each drink as an opportunity to create an inspirational masterpiece, Phoenix has earned an impressive average of $4.60 in tips PER SHIFT, and considerable respect from amateur artists all around the globe.
“For this caramel macchiato I drew inspiration from Monet’s Water Lilies,” said Jensen, double fisting industrial-sized bottles of food colouring. “The murky swirls of blue and green colouring really give the pink lotus marshmallow permission to be the focal point of the work. If you look closely, you can see your reflection in the drink, forcing one to consider why they ever ordered a drink with 48 grams of sugar in the first place.”
Although he only rakes in a measly 20 cents above the provincial minimum wage, and “feels a piece of [himself] wither away” every time a customer takes a sip, subsequently ruining his masterpieces, Jensen is fully committed to being the best artist he can be. His customers certainly agree that his work is like nothing they’ve ever seen before.
Sarah Cho, a longstanding curator at the museum, has expressed similar testaments concerning latté art. “I was supposed to get a hot chocolate. Instead I got a cup of raspberry syrup with cocoa powder on top. He saw Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. I saw an amateur version of Jackson Pollock’s Convergence.”
Can the propensity to make overpriced artisan beverages evolve into a viable career path? To Jensen, the answer is obvious:
“Sure. I mean I’m not famous for it now. But neither was Van Gogh, and look at how much people loved him after he died!”