Boston-based artist Jake Fried uses ink, white-out, and coffee to produce fantastical animations like the one above. In the last year, he’s published three coffee-fueled animations on Vimeo, two of which have garnered the coveted “Staff Pick” spot. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen his animations by way of the internet, and his work has been featured all over the world, from Singapore to London.

We caught up with Mr. Fried digitally and asked him some questions about his stunning, popular, and endlessly rewatchable animations.

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We’re big fans of your work on Vimeo. which have been described as “trippy, layered animations” – would you say that’s accurate?

Thanks, I’d say that’s a pretty good description of my animations. My work is unique in how it’s made by “layering” one frame on top of the last, and watching the films hopefully does create an “altered state of awareness” for the viewer.

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Since 2011, you’ve published eight animations online using ink and white out. In 2013, you started using coffee in your work. Why coffee? And is it ground coffee? Brewed coffee?

I use brewed coffee. There are several reasons I started using coffee, the main one being that it stains the white-out nicely and allows me to create more painterly and complex compositions as my images evolve. It also fits into the concept of these animations being made with just the simple materials one would find at their desk – pens, white-out, a cup of coffee. It highlights the “hand-made and raw” quality of my process, as opposed to the slick, digital style most animation relies on.

In your works from 2013, there is a lot of imagery used that suggest substance abuse – cigarette smoking, alcohol, pharmaceuticals – do you consider coffee a similar vice?

I wouldn’t necessarily call these substances “vices” or that their use implies “abuse.” I’m more interested in the idea of transformation (essentially that’s what my film work is all about) and I think of drugs like caffeine as “transformative substances.” So they are essentially symbols of an “altered state” or a physical object that represents a change/evolution in perception.

Do you drink coffee?


Where do you find coffee in Boston?

Well there’s a Dunkin Donuts about every 20 feet in Boston, so that’s usually where I’ll grab a cheap cup of coffee. The Museum I work at [Mr. Fried is an educator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – Ed.] serves Starbucks, which is alright. If I have the time/money for something better I go to one of the Pavement Coffeehouse locations (serving Counter Culture).

Thanks, Jake.

Check out more of Jake Fried’s art at

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