Ever thought of using coffee as a medium for artwork?

Introducing David Staude, whose love for coffee has taken him to places not dictated by only a canvas and a brush

David was born in Middleburg, grew up in Natal and matriculated from Lowveld High School in 1999. He comes from an artistic family and background and though influenced by his family, he taught himself through experimentation of traditional media and adopted mediums such as coffee and polymer silicone. With no formal art studies, though he holds a B-tech international diploma in multi-media design, David currently works and lives in Gordon’s Bay.

“In 2003 I went on a working holiday stint in England, which lead to my first ‘coffee art’ experimentation. It all started while having my daily espresso in a local coffee shop waiting for my girlfriend at the time to finish her work shift for the day – spending the time doodling on napkins and scrap paper by dipping matchsticks or toothpicks into coffee. Realising the effects and colour coming from the ‘rough sketches and doodles’, I quickly changed my scrap paper to water colour paper and experimented as much as possible. From water colour to more textured and thicker viscosities  – the thicker the coffee mix the more unforgiving medium it transformed into.”

David’s freethinking approach in creating coffee art allowed the use of untraditional applicators. Instead of using conventional brushes he applies his ‘paint’ with various other tools including syringes, nozzles, pipette droppers, straws and sticks.. Pretty much anything and everything he can think of to get away from the boring brush.

Depending on the subject and composition chosen, each art piece comprises his foundational espresso mixes. David grinds the coffee beans, makes a quick cup for himself and then mixes it with one or two other selective additives – getting it to a certain viscosity, colour or hue and texture. Many hours are spent prepping each tone and colour. “Did I forget to mention the wonderfully fresh brewed smell at the same time? It’s deliciously comforting.” Well, that must be where all the inspiration comes from, David…

“Preparation is everything as I usually only have one chance to do the artwork. No room for errors made it stressful in the beginning but I quickly learned certain techniques and ways to accomplish the most technical movement and application within a layering process on any particular art piece.”

David adds that visually, the coffee’s hue seems the same to an untrained eye; however, it is dictated by the strength and application of layers. Various tones stand out more than others and colour variations range from desert sand/ light sienna to dirty rustic orange, burnt sienna and dark chocolate – essentially getting about 11 workable tones in turn making it possible to create the depth and light he needs for each masterpiece he creates. The deeper, darker hues need more layers from the initial mix while making it more opaque and less transparent. Depending on his subject and final look and feel, he incorporates various Indian Inks to define shadows, silhouettes, inner/outer lines and fills; hence accentuating the overall fills hue ( ie Baobab tree and custom tree).

“Subject matter has always varied between each artwork and is mostly customised to what my clients want and feel. I am inspired by the awesomeness of nature and technology us humans create while striving to generate beautiful contrasting works fulfilling its meaning and purpose.”

“It means a lot to me – more than anything, to know and have one of my art pieces in someone’s personal space knowing that they were a part of the creative process, loving and appreciating this medium just as much as I do. It gives me great pleasure to be a part of someone’s life like this. Not standing out but in the background, a subtle statement as to who they are and what they like and love.”

David’s objective, apart from what he said before, is that all his coffee artwork pieces have a high contrast look and feel. This is why most of his creations have untouched and clear white backgrounds. The physical attributes include raised and embossed layers. A new addition to a particular look and feel within some works are creating air bubbles forever seeming as if they are going to pop out (but they don’t).

“And of course, in between all of this the main objectives are to have fun, experiment, learn and evolve in creating appealing and interestingly different art. And why coffee again you ask? Because it’s the world’s most popular drink, it’s delicious and I love it!”
T : 0715844218 | dave.staude@gmail.com |twitter: @davidoart |Instagram: Davidoart

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