Posted in Kafevend Blog

Back in August the blog looked at artist Sid Chidiac, who made his name by using chocolate as a medium for painting portraits. Where cocoa goes, tea and coffee go also, and today we delve into the hot drinks paint palette of Gerard Tonti.

Several years back, Pennsylvanian Tonti decided to take his interest in Asian art, which uses tea to stain wood and dye fabrics, a step further. He was keen to investigate the viability of tea and coffee as paints. Perseverance became the name of the game as he discovered pitfalls and remedies along the way.

Each variety of tea and coffee has its own individual chemical composition and Tonti had to find a binder suited to each type to enable it to be used as a paint. Fading, caused by both oxidisation and exposure to sunlight, presented another major hurdle. Many artists would have returned to their oils and acrylics at this point, but Tonti's determination held fast. The addition of a UV stabiliser solved one aspect of the problem and a polyacrylic seal solved the other. He creates his paintings on large canvasses as his paints are easier to control that way and he employs a wide range of tools, from brushes and sponges to toothbrushes and cotton buds!

Like many of us, Tonti had spent plenty of time in coffee shops, where he often found himself people-watching. What better subject matter for the medium of tea and coffee paints he thought. He began to photograph people drinking and preparing coffee, and people's interactions with each other, using these as a basis for his work. His incredibly realistic and detailed paintings are well worth a look at www.gerardtonti.com and just go to show the extraordinary versatility of our favourite hot drinks duo!

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