Steve Smock is definitely excited his oil painting, a depiction of three roosters seated around a table over steaming cups of coffee, will become the new label artwork for Whole Latte Love’s soon-to-debut breakfast blend, Wakey Wakey. Smock’s piece won our spring label contest, narrowly defeating the next closest finalist by 22 votes! A graphic designer by day, Smock has been painting seriously by night since 1990, beginning with commercial illustrations like this image and gradually moving to large-scale acrylic creations that can be up to nine feet tall. While he says winning the label contest is “very cool,” the Penfield, NY resident is even more excited about the other part of the prize he’ll receive: a new Gaggia Classic espresso machine.
“That was half the reason I jumped at entering this [contest]. I wanted that machine,” says Smock. “I love coffee. I’m a double-espresso-multiple-times-a-day-person. The first thing I thought was ‘Now I can make a serious cup of espresso.’”
The arrival of the new machine couldn’t have been timed any better as the 39-year-old artist and his wife are redoing a room in their house, moving the kitchen from one area to another. “The old kitchen is going to become kind of a café, so it’s like a perfect fit,” he says, adding he’ll put the Gaggia Classic through a few practice runs before showcasing it for friends at the small celebration party he intends to throw. He’s betting his wife will want him to brew her a latte, and as for his three kids, all under age seven, well, they’ll be excited just to catch a whiff of the roast wafting through the air.
“They love it when I grind coffee in the mornings--they come over and take a sniff,” Smock says with a chuckle, adding he’ll probably treat himself to a new grinder to go along with the Gaggia Classic.
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