Wednesday, August 24


Trey | Resident Artist
Service Industry Detour
Trey works for food. After being a customer at Chez Elle for a year, he struck up a deal with owner Ellen when he tried to sell her his art. She said no, she couldn't afford to buy his drawings, but Trey wasn't deterred. Let's trade he says, a drawing for a crêpe, and thus started a patron-artist relationship that has grown into a mutually beneficial relationship. Trey gets to eat as many free crêpes as he can draw. He said Ellen probably didn't think that he would come in every day, sometimes twice a day, but Chez Elle has become part of his daily routine. A drawing, his morning meal and then it's off to his studio to work and teach. For Ellen, it's about supporting art in Kansas City and promoting her business.

"The idea is not making money," Trey says about his art-for-food project. "But building up a great client base. Ellen is such a great patron. The point is, I'm making a book about my experience here." In three months he has drawn hundreds of images of Ellen's business, from their front steps to the day-to-day life of a restaurant, their staff and of course, their regular customers. These daily drawings have given him the chance to observe human behavior, like how women like to take the lead in ordering, develop his illustration style and promote his art. Ultimately his goal is to travel and work with bands to visually record a moment in their lives, on stage and on the road.

Trey is a self-taught banjo player and a pen fanatic. He also paints but finds more satisfaction in the immediacy of journal-style illustrations. He draws everywhere he goes and it invites interaction and conversation with people who are curious about how he sees the world. He does house portraits and knocks on people's door and sells them for whatever they want to pay. He works with a DJ, projecting his drawings on the walls while they dance and sells the transparencies. He trades his art at bars for cocktails. No matter what he's working on, he's always thinking of a way of using art to support himself.

Trey will be showing his collection of Chez Elle drawings during the month of September with opening receptions on September 2nd and 18th. Ellen is creating a special crêpe in honor of her resident artist called the Trey Très Magnifique. See more of his work here.

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Anastasia said...

Hi- I'm doing a feature of Trey for a Florida magazine, would love to talk to someone about using one of the images for the magazine.

Anonymous said...

Trey is awesome!

suzy marie hachey. said...

of course i love this philosophy, and was glad to be introduced to this lovely, hidden gem in the Summit Hill neighborhood of Kansas City by the talented Trey himself. he's the kind of person that just walks into any ol' place that intrigues him, and Chez Elle is the kind of place that invites you to do just that. it's the kind of place you take your mom for a mother's day brunch, jog to for an early morning coffee-date, or sit and read a book and admire all of the other great artwork while enjoying a "sweet or savory" crepe alone, being the little french introvert you are.