This is a scene from the old Caffe Paradiso in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. I spent many hours there — meditative, social, and delicious. In this painting, I wanted to portray the cafe as a customer would see it, with all the tantalizing food displayed in the cases, and also as the worker sees it, with all the dirty dishes piled up beneath the cash register.
In the kindest interpretation, these are two aspects of one person. There is the casual one in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, eating a slice of pizza. Then there is the formal one in jacket, slacks and shoes, holding a glass of wine, and surrounded by elegant furnishings. However, as the title implies, the casual one becomes an impersonator when he steps into the other’s shoes. And while he can spend some small amount of time enjoying a richer lifestyle, it is not his authentic self, to which he eventually returns.