Four Barrel Coffee Featured Artist Rachel Sager is anything but subtle.


California Bay Area painter Rachel Sager created the art for the latest septet of Four Barrel bags. We stole a few minutes from her to discuss the boiling point of blood, the self-indulgence of She-Ra, and coffee.

“I am most definitely creating imagery of natural and 'unnatural' occurrences that aim to create dissonance within the viewer, that might trigger a sort of innate reaction, possibly reminiscent of awe and terror.”

That’s a lot to pack into that little square on a coffee bag, isn’t it?

“I spent days in some of those spaces that you can't even see with the naked eye. Ultimately though, it feels to me the image appears almost more precise, like a complete thought, instead of a meditation.“

That’s good, because meditation is hard.

“The F213 show [in which Sager’s work appears] showcases one if my favorite, though less marketable meditations: destruction. It references the boiling point, when the lid is coming off the pot, that moment of transformation.”

You mean like the way that Adora transforms to She-Ra, the Defender of the Crystal Castle?

“What inspires me to work is that moment of transformation, when all is perceivably lost. Concrete, steel and brick disintegrate into nothing and power shifts.”

So then, you’re saying you’ve never drawn She-Ra?

“Did I ever. Dragons and unicorns, a ton of She-Ra and a fair amount of Disney characters, I must say. After being trained to paint classically in Italy, I was met by a ton of opposition for being "self-indulgent" in my renderings of the human anatomy and portraiture. Which, of course, led me to distort and abstract the human figure by replacing it with raw chicken skin.”

That doesn’t sound very subtle.

“My work can be described as anything but subtle. I am always drawn to the more visceral types of expressions, loud and in your face. I make work that I hope will cause an emotional or visceral response that ‘wakes you up.’”

We know about something you can drink that will do that, too.

“I successfully justified a cup a day throughout both my pregnancies, and now into breastfeeding. My coffee habit has gone through many incarnations, the one-cup pour over, the never-quite-hot-enough Chemex, the Italian stovetop espresso pot...."  

Rachel Sager’s work most recently appeared as part of the F213 Exhibition by the Northern California Women's Caucus for Art at Arc Gallery April 13- May 11, 2019. More of her words and works appear on her web site.

Her art will continue to grace Four Barrel bags, including Kenya Gura, for a few months, if we’re lucky.