In the throes of a very busy fall quarter, a friend and I were craving acai bowls and good conversation — we needed an escape from the mounting stresses of school and work. We found time to meet at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Café in the middle of a warm October day, and, for an hour or so, eluded reality.
Sally Loo’s periodically displays local artwork, but I had never noticed until that afternoon. I walked in and was suddenly struck by the images hanging on the brick walls. Penciled, sketch-like drawings accented with bouquets of bursting red pulled me in — literally. I found myself standing just inches away from the pieces, admiring and considering their meaning. I deemed the art to be distinctly intimate. I saw hope and frustration and subtle tones of sensuality. Above my head, hand-painted red leaves were strung across the ceiling, dancing and bouncing in the wind each time a customer opened the door.
The pieces were for sale, and I wanted to buy one, but had only brought enough cash for lunch. I thought maybe I’d come back in a few days to make a purchase, but the frenzy of fall quarter kept me away, and eventually a different artist’s work was up on the walls.
Nearly five months later, I was rushing out of class, late for an interview I was conducting as a favor to a friend. He wanted to film a profile on the owners of Sally Loo’s, Jen and Brandon Manuele, and recruited me to help. We met on a Monday in the café, when it was closed, as to avoid loud background noises or distractions.
All the chairs were upside-down on the tables with the exception of one, where a young man was sitting with his laptop. In my rush, I didn’t register that he seemed out of place. The only other people in the restaurant were the owners, two videographers and myself. While the videographers set up, I spoke with Jen and she told me a little bit about the shop, and mentioned the artwork that is displayed on the walls in one-to-two month rotations. I immediately remembered the pieces I had seen in October, and described them to her as “sketches with red detailing.”
The young man sitting behind his laptop overheard my description of the art that had stuck with me for months. He looked up at me and said, “That’s my roommate, Bryn Hobson.”
I took down Bryn’s name, thinking he would be a good candidate for our “Mustang Makers” series. Later that evening, I Googled “Bryn Hobson” and came across his “365” blog. I was thoroughly impressed and intrigued by his experiences — so much so that I was asked to tell his story.