In honor of National Coffee Day, we thought it fitting to showcase an artist who (subtly) uses the magical brown elixir to make art. Maui-based mixed-media artist Alessandra Maria creates beautifully detailed, dark and delicate portraits using little more than a pencil, black ink and gold leaf on coffee-stained paper. Inspired by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, Maria’s haunting life-like portraits evoke fantasy and mystery with intricate details set on an eerily enigmatic surface achieved through the coffee’s dark brown grounds. There are even religious overtones in these thought-provoking masterpieces. Maria’s work is simply beautiful and poignant.


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Working on a beautiful commission. I was asked to do a portrait of two who have passed on, and it's been an honor to try my best and create something comforting for the family. These dots always take a long time! People frequently ask how I do them, and the answer is just plain hard work. I hand apply every dot; it often takes hours, and I always dread "dot day". But – this part is the best reward – brushing away all the gold to reveal the halos ✨

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