Photography by Jen Woo

Artists with Double Lives: Justin Teisl, Barista & Art Curator at Four Barrel Coffee, Paints Abstract Organisms

7x7 is a proud and longtime supporter of ArtSpan and San Francisco Open Studios, the five-week annual event during which hundreds of local artists open the doors to show their latest work directly to art lovers and new potential clients.

In celebration of this year's festival (October 14th through November 12th), we stopped by the offices and studios of five artists with, gasp, day jobs! In this series, we'll highlight artists with double lives, including a barista artist, a surrealist who sells insurance, and a motorcycle mechanic who more than dabbles in mixed media art.


Meet Justin Teisl, barista and art curator at Four Barrel Coffee, and baseball player. From his shifts at the cafe, he carries his observances of how people relate to the natural world into his art, painting organic experiences that ebb and flow from the creation process to viewing.

Name: Justin Teisl

Occupation: Barista and art curator at Four Barrel Coffee, and baseball player for the SF Pacifics.

Medium: Teisl is a painter. Inspired by the beauty of the natural world and humankind's evolving artistic relationship with it, much of his art incorporates the trees he passes on his bicycle ride through Golden Gate Park and around the city. He uses both traditional and experimental techniques, exploring color and texture between the many layers of resin and acrylic paint that make up his pieces. This process forges the rich, dynamic viewing experience of his art; which changes dependent on your viewing distance and perspective. His backgrounds recall abstract environs from foggy skyscapes to cosmic swirls, and invite the viewer to draw connections between the environment immediately surrounding them and the greater scope of the universe.

He says: "The art curator job at Four Barrel Coffee completes my art because it keeps me involved in the industry. I have to do some research to discover local artists, meet them or contact them and finally exhibit their works at the two locations—one on Valencia and the other one on Divisadero at The Mill. This job helps me to understand the art business in terms of marketing and PR. The barista role gives me the opportunity to meet people, talk to them and socialize; which creates a sort of connection with my art because part of my inspiration is also to see and explore how people interact with nature. Talking to customers...I find it interesting and in some ways related to my research. As for baseball, it gives me the best break from my regular job and my art. When I play, I forget all obligations and responsibilities. It is a great escape for me."

Meet him: October 28th-29th, Workspace Artists, 768 Delano Street #1D (Oceanview), justinteisl.com