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A Local Food Artist is Making Waves on Instagram

Charlene Villena proves that playing with your food can be just as fun as eating it


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Crack Shack drawing by Charlene Villena.

With restaurants prioritizing decor and branding almost as much as the menu these days, it’s no surprise that local artist Charlene Villena turned to the culinary world for visual inspiration. The 29-year-old native San Diegan has become known for her sketches of local restaurants, with extra attention to details like a Crack Shack sauce or bespectacled coffee drinker at James Coffee Co.

Inspired by her own love for food (she works part-time for a catering company) and Urban Sketchers, a global community of artists who practice drawing on location, Villena began sharing the pieces on her blog and Instagram (@charvillena), which has since led to commissioned work.

“My goal is to remember that moment,” she says. “To remember the feeling, the taste, the people, the sights, and sounds—things that we usually take for granted.”

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