Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 14 News List

The cafe cum factory

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Salt Peanuts Factory welcomes all kinds of artists and art lovers to mingle, hang out and create.

PHOTOS: HO YI, TAIPEI TIMES

Salt Peanuts Factory (鹹花生展廠), a newly opened cafe cum art showroom in the Shida District, feels just like its two creators: warm, quiet and tinged with a unique artistic sensibility.

Partners Barbie and Angel are the kind of people who look at the creation of art as part of everyday life. The pair rented out the space on a whim and a few months later, Salt Peanuts Factory was born — a playful, relaxing, community-based art space open to anyone who has an interesting vision and work to share.

Here art is not abstract, but heartfelt and accessible to anyone taking time out in the cafe. The exhibition space in the back is currently hosting Without You I Am So Lonely, a show featuring the couple's portraits of Samuel Beckett, Paul Auster, Bob Dylan, and Paul Weller, among other subjects.

"Since college, we have traveled around the world as backpackers and have always thought Taipei is a comfy place to live, but it lacks interesting places to explore. So, we simply wanted to create an interesting space where life and art meet," said Barbie, a bartender, painter and the lead singer of the rock outfit Telephone Booth that regularly gigs at The Wall (這牆), Underworld (地下社會) and Kafka on the Seashore (海邊的卡夫卡).

Already booked for the next three months, the art showroom welcomes all genres of art and is also suitable for small-scale film screenings. The well-equipped DJ booth, currently under the command of Barbie, is waiting for guests to spin their magic, while live performances will soon follow as the duo are open to suggestions and hope the cafe can become a lively hub for artists and art lovers.

As every inch of the place can be served to showcase artworks, artists can also consign their work to the joint for sale. The establishment's outer walls are reserved for graffiti artists. Currently on display is the work of Taipei graffiti celebrity Bbrother, who believes graffiti is an integral part of urban landscapes.

For young artists like Bbrother, the artists' cafe is a refuge from the outside world, one that sometimes shuns subversive art genres. "We have met lots of young people who choose to live outside of mainstream society. They have their own system and logic of living but sometimes being hurt is inevitable. We hope the cafe can also become a place of rest for them to come and heal," Barbie said.

Salt Peanuts Factory is located at 23, Ln 60, Taishum St, Taipei (台北市泰順街60巷23號). Call (02) 2368-1019. For updates on exhibitions and information about submitting work, visit www.wretch.cc/blog/saltpeanuts.

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