Get A Jolt From These Portraits Of Cultural Icons Made From Coffee

As a cake designer, Maria A. Aristidou is used to creating art out of edibles. Her newest exhibit, which launched recently at Vienna Boutique, a confections store and cake gallery in Limassol, Cyprus, seems like a natural extension. Using coffee as her primary medium, Aristidou has painted intricate renderings of cultural icons from R2-D2 to Bob Marley to Queen Elizabeth. “It was all by accident,” she says of choosing her caffeinated palette. “I’ve spilled my coffee on a project I’ve been working on, and instead of being upset by that, I was intrigued.”

She won’t reveal the specifics of her process, but she does say that coffee and watercolors have a similar consistency on paper. Her main challenge is figuring out how to create contrast with a single hue: brown. Over time, Aristidou has learned which coffee brands produce certain shades, so she might use three different brands in one painting. “Each brew has its own (qualities), and I choose accordingly to what shade, mark, splatter I need to achieve,” she says. “That may be an americano, an espresso. But my favorite is Greek coffee, in terms of taste, quality, and the effect it gives out.”

When Aristidou prepares to paint, she brews her palette alongside her own personal cup of coffee. “I always have a cup of fresh coffee while working,” she says. “I may dip my brush in it by accident too.”