Jihaari Terry and the art of common courtesies

Local artist Jihaari Terry is obsessed with common courtesies. He works in the service industry and has become acutely aware of the nuances of pleases and thank yous and related social graces, and the way signage plays a part in this whole thing. He’s got a show opening up this Saturday at Dreamers and Make Believers Salon, and if the above animated GIF is any indication, this series of paintings is going to be fuuun.

We decided to ask Jihaari a few questions to better prepare ourselves for the opening.

What sort of work do you do at your day job?

I work at a coffee shop downtown. I’m a barista and I pull more than 100 shots a day because it gets soo busy there.

Do you like your customers?

Customers range from not courteous to very nice. We get a lot of tourists from Australia and from Tokyo.

Do your customers like you?

I think they appreciate the coffee we make. I don’t actually know if most customers know that we are actually making drinks to order.

Do common courtesies make your day?

Oh, Yeah they do. Sometimes after 20 drinks It’s nice to here one person say “Please” or “Thank You” It’s rare though. I think iPhones and lack of social interaction plays a big part in this.

Have customers ever complained about aspects of your customer service abilities?

We get some customers that come in asking for things we do not do in order to maintain quality. For Example, Espresso to go. We explain it in a nice enough manner so people can understand the reasoning. But sometimes it’s not enough. I think most customers hate getting to the front of the line and we are out of something. I offer alternatives to their order but you cannot please everyone. But you can be polite to everyone though.

Do you have any experience with uncommon courtesies?

Yeah, about a year and a half ago some dude used to come in and try to exchange massages for coffee. I declined.

Do you appreciate all signage, or just signage you personally find to be aesthetically pleasing?

Aesthetics bro, It’s all about how something looks. I’m really into 70′s colors and block lettering. Old signage has a little bit of a romantic feeling, probably because of the times they were produced. For example faded letters on old brick buildings are great.

If you could change anything about the way signage exists in society, what would you change?

I believe in the art of the sign. The hand drawn letters, the colors, the painstakingly straight lines. It’s cool. Most contemporary signage is devoid of the hand that creates it.

Here’s one of my favorite instances of the melding of signage and art. Do you like the way graffiti writers in San Francisco interact with signage?

Of course, graffiti is it’s own form of signage. So much that most ad companies look toward graffiti for the next best way to advertise.

How do common courtesies and customer service change after dark?

Be nice to creatures of the night. They will be nicer to you. You are talking about prostitutes right?

No, dude, don’t be weird. Anyyyways, on your days off, where do you go for the best customer service?

My days off are spent making art and skateboarding. I usually do not deal with many people. But I would like to give a shout out to a favorite brunch spot of mine. St. Francis. They are always nice and courteous to customers.

When you’re off the clock, are you ever tempted to act like a jerk just because you can?

No, I like to stay on point with manners all day. Even saying thank you to people that don’t deserve it might make their day better.

When on the clock, have you ever had to dispense with social graces because a situation called for it?

It takes a lot to get to my breaking point. Because there will be an end to my work shift. Some instances I have had to leave from the room for a second and laugh it off.

Some people are just racist and that gets to me.

The other day we published a story about an artist whose show at Ritual Roasters got pulled after a day or two. The owner explained in an email to the artist that serious art deserves serious art openings with wine and cheese. Will there be wine and cheese at your opening?

I just had a similar experience with a different art gallery. It sucked, but opened up other doors.

I will not be serving wine and cheese but chicken, waffles and beer. Maybe ginger-ale and cinnamon rolls. Maybe just cinnamon rolls. I love cinnamon rolls.

Damn! This sounds like a kickass opening, and surely it will be socially gracious! RSVP and invite your friends here.

7 Responses to “Jihaari Terry and the art of common courtesies”

  1. Your animated GIFs give me rabies.

  2. MrEricSir says:

    “We get some customers that come in asking for things we do not do in order to maintain quality. For Example, Espresso to go.”

    AMEN. As an espresso drinker, I find the idea of putting espresso in a paper cup borderline offensive.

  3. tk says:

    He is absolutely right about the servers at the St. Francis. They are so fucking nice that they even make me nice, which is weird for both of us.

  4. Pedro says:

    Jihaari is awesome. Check out this show!

  5. Adam G says:

    Loves me some Jihaari! (And Megan.)

  6. The staff at St. Francis really are super nice.

  7. Quin2013 says:

    Never been to the st. francis. don’t really have a good reason. But damn it, I wish i didn’t have to go to a bday thing tonight. I think I’d rather have chicken, waffles and cinnamon rolls(or buns!)