Here's how you can turn your morning coffee into an artpiece

  • Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2015 15:09 IST

Now here's your chance to wake up and smell those coffee beans in a whole new way. And that too, outside that cuppa you cannot wake up without every morning!

Ever thought that those tiny beans could ever be used in painting? Now, we've all seen many modern-day artists who use the beans and even various blends of the beverage, to create art pieces.

But Maria Aristidou, from the UK, takes the art form to a completely different level: She has painted a mind-boggling range of creations, from Ariel to Mickey mouse to even an elephant, with different blends of the most-loved beverage. Coffee-painting, also called Arfe, is not as difficult as it looks to be, she tells HT in an exclusive email interview.

Maria Aristidou poses with one of her paintings.

Read on for more from the gifted artist.

How did you get the idea of using coffee to paint?

The first time, it was by accident. I knew that coffee would leave a stain on paper since whenever I would work I'd always have coffee around me. And that would leave a stain sometimes. But one day I looked at the stain and said... ‘Well that's something interesting!!’ Good thing I always carry a brush with me. The rest is history..

How are coffee paintings different from the usual water-colour or canvas paintings? Does the aroma linger for long?

They aren't really that different. Coffee works as a pigment and I use that on aquarelle paper. So it's really like water colouring . Depending on what coffee I use the aroma will stay for a long time! :)

An elephant painted using coffee blends.

How long have you been doing this?

Just barely a month but I have been painting and creating almost since the day I picked up a pencil.

Have you experimented with any other unusual medium for painting?

No I haven't. But I plan to do in the future :)

Do you always paint in coffee alone or sometimes mix colors or other medium with it?

No, just coffee.

A painting by Maria.

What is the potential of this kind of painting in the market? What have been the public’s reactions to this way of paintings?

It has shown to have a lot of potential but only the future will tell. As for public reaction, people love it as they find it unusual and exciting.

How do you market and monetize your paintings?

Via Social media, it takes effort and time to learn how to work around social media but once you get there nothing is stopping you.

(Maria can be contacted on her Facebook page.)

What are the challenges you believe you face because of using an unconventional medium of art?

There haven't been any challenges to be honest with you as this coffee as a medium really isn't that different from aquarelle.

A painting by Maria.

How long does it take for you to complete an average painting using coffee?

It really depends from the subject, amount of detail and shading it needs, it can be anything from two hours to two days.

Tell us about yourself, Maria, the person.

I was born and brought up in Cyprus but my mom used to travel a lot with me and my brother . I think that helped since I got opportunities to visit galleries and plays. But overall I think I had it in me. My mom says that I started drawing on walls like any other toddler might have done, she just didn't stop me.

At school I was always the girl who painted and would take part in many art competitions winning a few prices.

I've won one for the Olympic Games in Athens back in 2004, and I took my mom at the Olympics ! How cool was that? I do owe that to my art teachers. They always believed in me and motivated me.

Another painting by Maria.

Later, when I chose Fine Arts as my subject for college education, no one stopped me. I graduated in 2010 Fine Arts from the Manchester Metropolitan University. Then, I continued with an MA in Arts Health by the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. After that I worked with a few group exhibitions, some design freelancing and a bit of teaching with Art students. Since then I have been living both in Cyprus and the UK, doing freelance work.

(Interact with the author at Twitter/SwetaKaushal)
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