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Time for the percolator: graphic design students wow with coffee art

By   /   October 9, 2013  /   Comments Off


Across from a Starbucks in Wheaton sits La Spiza, a local coffee shop that hosted a gallery show for 15 talented COD graphic design students. While it is not strange that an art show be held in a hip coffee shop, it is rather unique that the subject and even medium for the art, involve coffee beans.

Running the gambit from digital print to ink, to sketching, to actually painting with coffee grounds, the American Institute of Graphic Artists student group aimed to “conceptualize coffee as an art form.” The pieces not only felt at home on the walls of the local café but really had guests interested in each different take on the concept.


Photo by Felicia A. Moore

“Sometimes you just want to touch something and you’re not allowed to.”

Ami Rupani, president of AIGA describes the inspiration for her piece; an interactive printed canvas where onlookers can lift up bags of tea to reveal a depiction of popular coffee types.

“I’m so proud of everyone’s work.” Rupani is one of 15 on-campus AIGA members who’s work was chosen by faculty to be included in the gallery. The “coffee art” boasts the work of talented students, but also serves as a pairing between local businesses and the college. As Rupani frankly pointed out, you wouldn’t be seeing student art in Starbucks. The invitation is open for community members, students and staff alike to support colligate endeavors and raise awareness for the quaint atmosphere of a local favorite.

Not much for coffee, one student decided to paint with tea for her piece, “Tea Time in Green” (shown below). A nod to art nouveau, Leighanne Crawford mimicked swirling steam rising from a mug of hot tea in her mixed media work. Evoking all the zen vibes of jasmine and green tea, Crawford’s vibrant piece jumped off the wall.


Photo by Felicia A. Moore

Other intriguing concepts came from third year student, Pete Surges, who illustrated a parallel between someone’s average morning routine, and a bean’s journey from branch to mug, in his “daily grind” blueprint.

“I love my classes here,” says Surges. “Standing in front of people, presenting your art and sitting through critiques builds your skills and self-confidence.”

Surges couldn’t gush enough about the graphic design program on campus, and rightfully so as the COD serves as a stepping-stone for him. The Wheaton native will head to Texas in the summer to attend the Art Institute of Houston.

Graphic artist and photographer Felicia Moore of Woodridge, took a distinct approach to her exhibit effort: with a spoon she dropped coffee onto paper and let it stain the page. Using each individual blot as a guide, she penned small creatures out of the free-formed shapes; a very playful concept.

The Coffee Art Gallery show is scheduled to run through Oct. 31, but hurry by because for a donation to the student group, fans may purchase the artwork.

Support AIGA Students

For a donation of $10 student coffee art may be purchased at La Spiaza through Oct. 31

114 N Main Street Wheaton

Hours: Monday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 8 am – 5 pm

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