For as long as coffee and art have co-existed, the two have closely intermingled in myriad ways. Coffee has been the fuel for creativity (though not the cause of it), it has been the foundation for artistic expression—both in terms of drink creation and the designs made on the tops of lattes and cappuccinos—and it has on more than one occasion coffee has been the medium. It is in the latter category that Ekene Ngige finds himself. Using coffee, the Nigerian artist makes stunning works of art.
As reported by CNN, the 39-year-old Ngige takes a multimedia approach to his caffeinated works, using both whole bean and instant coffee—combined with water into a jelly-like paste—to create realistic portraiture. The idea to use coffee came to Ngige seven years ago by accident; a spilled cappuccino on his notebook “created random patterns on paper” that clued him into the artistic possibility. “It was supposed to be a mistake, but I loved the mistake, and I didn’t want to wipe it off,” Ngige tells CNN. “I loved the color. I loved the texture.”
Each taking anywhere between two weeks and a month to complete, Ngige draws inspiration for the subject matter of his works from the world around him, depicting everything from everyday activities to candid moments to portraits of world movers like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malala Yousafzai.
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So next time you spill your coffee, don’t fret, find inspiration in it. Sure, we can’t all be Ekene Ngige, but it’s like Bob Ross says, we don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.