Art Burn: Paper Trails and Mock Meat at Green
There's nothing scarier for a die-hard meat eater than a vegan restaurant. Just mentioning the lack of animal by-product may cause him or her to sweat, or at least go into a lengthy rant about "those damned veg-heads" with hippie dreadlocks and unshaven pits. How they had a boyfriend/girlfriends they couldn't take anywhere public for fear of their vegan date whining about nothing edible on the menu or launching into a sermon on the horrors of slaughterhouses.
Enter Green, the super popular, hip eatery in the strip mall next to the Salvation Army on Scottsdale Rd. The place is cute and comfy, with mismatched couches for relaxing and pretty varnished wood tables with black tree designs. The painted VW hubcaps and car doors on the wall might be a granola-crunchy giveaway, but the place is relaxed enough to beckon vegan and omnivore alike. Green also hosts a rotating selection of local art on the bright orange wall near the entrance -- often as funky and fun as the rest of the decor.
The current featured artist is Catie Raya, a BFA student at Arizona State University who creates three-dimensional wall reliefs using scrapbook paper. Her work is vibrant and colorful, the perfect addition to a place like Green. Honestly, you really have to see it in person, as photos can't capture the dimensionality of each little "sculpture in a box."
In the same way that interior designers unify rooms by repeating motifs (thanks for the tip, HGTV!), Raya creates a cohesive piece with bright floral motifs that carry through this untitled portrait. Her choices of color, texture and pattern give the viewer a sense of the subject's personality.
Another untitled work (though this one may have suffered the loss of its tag during the course of the show) mimics the ebb and flow of waves, pulling the viewer into a whirlpool-like spiral with a distinctive red bulleye at the center.
Perhaps my favorite of Raya's paper sculptures, My Funny Valentine is a modern, graphic piece which effortlessly merges a linear floral with bold black-and-white. A sea of red swirls tumble from the heart; not a broken heart, but simply one laid open for the world to see. Perhaps it's a metaphor for Raya's art, in which she lays her heart bare through paper scraps. Her motifs still carry the simplicity of youth, but likely will mature as she progresses in her career.
So how was the grub? Confession time: I've heard some good things from co-workers, especially about the buffalo wings, but I was scared off by Yelp! reviewers talking about how greasy and fried everything was. Maybe I got lucky that day, but the Thai Peanut bowl with rice noodles and mock chicken was incredible. The texture of the "chicken" was spot on, and it actually tasted better than the real thing. While savoring each bite of crisp veggie, slightly sweet fried meat substitute and peanut, I noticed this interesting "Etiquette" story on the wall:
Thank God it wasn't a real list of etiquette rules, because they might have frowned on me for licking my bowl clean.