People pay Khara Ledonne to write on their walls. And sometimes - sometimes - she gets paid in cookies.
Khara recently revisited our Dean Street shop to add something special to the family tree mural she painted here about 7 years ago... the name of Dawn and Dave's 4 month old daughter, Camille. Her mural design is executed with a feathery hand, concentric circles of family generations garlanded with a hazelnut toned paint that reads like antique ink on parchment. Sitting in the cafe on a spring or summer day can feel like you've been swept away before a fresco in a hidden Sicilian church.
Working out of her Greenpoint studio, Khara has created murals at our neighbors Stinky Brooklyn and Jolie Cantina, both just down the street on Smith, and at best kept secret wine bar Flying Lobster in Red Hook, among many other venues found not just around Brooklyn, but around the world. Back in NYC, she first met Dawn after capturing Spain in paint at wine shop Tinto Fino on the Lower East Side. The wonderful paradox is that Khara the full scale muralist has a thriving shop on Etsy - creating miniature painted lockets.
“I like the feel of the space, it’s so calm,” she says, letting a cup of Majorelle Mint tea steep in front of her, a selection of brushes and paint temporarily transforming our cafe into her personal studio. She works hypnotically, tracing existing letters she has already painted into the mural to be sure the hand matches when she letters Camille’s name. Working in public is a part of the process she incorporates, tracing and then painting with delicacy as customers settle into tables to watch.
Under normal circumstances, Khara does not need to negotiate the rate for her commissions. But today is a little special. “You don’t understand, if you paid me, I’d just spend it all on cookies!” ...So, cookies it is! A boxful of lemon bars serve as a bonus.
Finishing the “e” in Camille, she steps back. “It’s more feminine” she says, and she’s right, the “e” in Nate’s name has crisper edges while Camille’s is ever so slightly rounder. She adds a lilting coil to the “C” and is done. Camille has officially joined the One Girl Cookie family.
To see the mural, drop into our 68 Dean Street shop in Cobble Hill, and to keep up with Khara, please check out her site at www.kharaledonne.com