During a weekend trip up to San Francisco from San Diego in the mid-80s, my girlfriend and I stopped at Caffé Trieste in North Beach for cappuccinos. It was early evening, and the the place was pretty packed. We were enjoying looking at people, checking out their style choices, listening to the mix of music coming over the speakers.

My girlfriend got my attention at one point and leaned in close–”Look at that guy over there,” as she gestured over at a man seated at the large communal table. He was dressed kind of shabbily, if I remember correctly. He had big, course workman’s hands, and he was fairly kneading a crayon onto a piece of cardboard. He had a big box of crayons, and he was using them almost like clay. You could see that there were layers upon layers of color, mixing together and forming an earth-like texture. We couldn’t really tell if he was making an image, or just working with texture.

Does anyone know who this might have been? I’ve always wondered if his art or his person are a part of San Francisco culture that is known to others. A friend just made a post about the artist Jean Dubuffet and it sparked my memory. Thanks, Leticia A. Martinez!

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