Imagine yourself working long hours on an important commission. You feel a bit tired so decide to take a cup of your favourite coffee to relax and… you accidentally spill it all over your work! Panic? Horror? Anxiety? Most probably, but not for the Cypriot artist Maria Aristidou. Seeing the coffee spilt on her work gave Maria an idea “This might be interesting!”.
Maria started to paint with the spill of coffee and decided that it was a new, unexplored art medium, which she decided to introduce to the world.
Painting with coffee is a very special art form. To gain different shades and depth, Maria uses different kinds of coffee and works with layers. That is why it is so time-consuming – one portrait could take up to 10 hours to finish. Some of her most famous paintings from coffee are the portraits of Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, series of Game of Thrones characters.
This unusual approach was noticed worldwide – Maria was invited to the ABC’s Good Morning America show, her work was mentioned by celebrities like Hugh Laurie, Bill Bailey, Margaret Cho, Martha Steward. Maria has cooperated with well-known brands like Kit Kat, Laiko Cosmos Ltd, Luna Bars.
Opening of the Studio
Since childhood, Maria was always connected to art. She has graduated from Fine Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University with a Bachelor degree and from the University of Central Lancashire with a Master Degree in Arts Health. After the studies, Maria was not so sure about her future. She could have followed her parents’ footsteps and run their business, but she wanted to go her own way and express her creativity. Maria was confident that with her love for art, creativity and passion for painting, everything would work out.
So, in December 2016, after almost two years since the accidental spill of coffee, Maria Aristidou opened her own Victorian Era inspired art studio in Larnaca, Cyprus. The studio combines her personal handicraft studio, which is her working space, handicraft supplies shop and a Gallery/Shop, where Maria presents her artworks.
Maria mainly works on her own in her studio, but she follows the opinions and needs of individual customers.
With Maria’s creativity and curiosity for new art techniques, coffee is now not that much visible in her art – she is now creating butterfly domes and rhinestone paintings. To create such a piece, Maria needs to use around 9.000-10.000 rhinestones, crystals and enamel pins. She also creates commissioned artwork in watercolours on aquarelle, oil painting on panels or canvas and cake designs.
Maria is continuously learning and trying new things, art techniques. She keeps an eye on new trends and has plenty of ideas for the future – she is thinking about providing various art seminars and exhibition events to her customers.
Maria has always believed in what she was doing and kept proud of her work despite the challenges she has faced.
On the Facebook post, dedicated for the International Women Day, Maria wrote that through the study and career years she has been getting negative and discouraging comments from other people: “You’re not talented enough to be an artist”, “You paint with coffee? That’s not art”, “Who do you think you are and you dream of opening your own gallery?”. Maria still believed in what she was doing and was strong enough to understand that this kind of comments was only meant to hurt her and make her lose her path. However, 20,600 followers on Facebook, plus 22.300 followers on Instagram prove that people love and appreciate Maria’s art and work.
For those who want to start their own business, Maria says: “Things don’t come to those who wait, but to those who work hard and keep going. Just keep swimming.”
See more of Maria’s work on social media: