Most of us see coffee mug rings as unsightly, bothersome stains. But one Malaysian artist saw potential and turned the brown blemishes into art.
“This project was inspired by the opening and closing lines in [Taiwanese celebrity] Jay Chou’s song ‘Secret,’” artist Red Hongyi said on her blog.
“The opening line is about lifting a coffee cup off the saucer. The ending line of the song is about autumn leaves and fragmented pieces. Hundreds of individual coffee stain rings, many of them broken and imperfect like fallen autumn leaves, form a whole portrait,” she said.
The project took Hongyi 12 hours to finish because of various challenges.
“Coffee is quite a challenging medium to use — too little water and the rings wouldn’t form easily, too much water and the rings would blend into each other, resulting in just a deformed pool of coffee,” Hongyi explained. “I had to also wait for the lighter parts to dry up before stamping on the darker rings, or else the rings would not be visible.”
The end result is a realistic portrait of Chou. Watch the video above for more detail on how Hongyi worked.