By Kelcee Griffis
Artist Maria Aristidou creates incredible portraits of famous figures using a surprising material: coffee. The United Kingdom-based painter initially stumbled upon the medium as a substitute for traditional water coloring, but now she’s developed it into a kind of science. She’s experimented with a variety of brands and consistencies to develop the range of colors that enables her artistic freedom. “Firstly made by accident, coffee painting has really grow on me,” she says. “Painting like I would with watercolors, I use many different blends and brands in order to get the right shade, depending on the design.”
When a new painting is brewing in Aristidou’s studio, a casual observer could mistake her palette for a mug of coffee and an espresso shot sitting on a scalloped saucer. But a closer look reveals that the saucer is compartmentalized, and each section holds a different color of coffee. Together, the different brews all combine on canvas to bring a breathtaking figure to life.
Aristidou usually chooses recognizable photographs to replicate. Due to her medium of choice, the pieces turn out in sepia tones, which give the pictures a warm, old-fashioned feel. Her work is on display at art festivals, galleries and her Instagram account, @ma_aris.