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Cup ‘o Sharpie

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It’s Stephanie’s turn!  Stephanie Williams is a Sharpie INKtern and this is her first post on the Sharpie blog.  She just graduated from DePaul U but is heading back in the fall for her masters.  She runs track at DePaul and has set all sorts of records.   For the record, Stephanie is a rock star intern…read her rock star post… 

Meet… Cheeming Boey 

Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment.

Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment.

“ The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology.”

It’s a product we see every day. The styrofoam cup.  Parties, barbecues and picnics are all places we use them and then we just…throw them away. But not 31-year-old artist and animator, Cheeming Boey of Newport Beach, California; he creates art. Armed with a black Sharpie Pen, Boey draws images on cups that include intricate waves, birds and scenes of his life from Malaysia to Orange County.

Boey shows one side of a cup entitled, "Run Baby Run."

Boey shows one side of a cup entitled, "Run Baby Run."

 Q: Tell me a little about your business.

Boey: I draw on Styrofoam coffee cups. 

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

 Boey: I had no paper while I was craving to sketch one day outside a coffee shop, saw a cup on top of a trash can, took it and started drawing on the surface. I had forgotten how well ink flows on the Styrofoam surface. Its got a completely different feel from paper. Initially it was just with a ball point pen, I later moved to sharpie because I had some sharpies on my desk at work.

Equipped with his Sharpie.

Equipped with his Sharpie.

 Q: How are Sharpie markers incorporated?

 Boey: They are primarily what I use to draw on my cups now. I only use one fine point sharpie for all my line works. I know there’re several sizes, but part of the challenge I want to tackle is achieving different strokes with one pen.

 Q: What benefit do you think this offers and to who?

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of.

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of.

 Boey: People tend to think that drawings and paintings are always on canvases or paper.

I would like others to see that anything can be used as a canvas. You must have tried drawing with fries using ketchup, right? Why can’t that be serious art?

 It’s not what you draw on all the time; it’s the idea on it, or behind it. If the KFC recipe was sold on a napkin for a million bucks, I don’t think people are gonna say, “Nah, I don’t want it…it’s on a napkin.”

 The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology. Yet it is often overlooked, and when it ever brings attention, it stands for everything negative.

Showing his love for waves.

Showing his love for waves.

I believe there’s beauty in everything, including what we consider imperfect. I embrace the fact that it isn’t perfect. Sort of like the Wabi-Sabi movement in Japan.

 The fact that it is “cheap” and “disposable” makes it an unlikely subject for anything “special”. But it is that reason that I decided to draw on them. It also keeps one cup off the streets, if people are worried about Styrofoam waste.

 Q: Why are Sharpie markers a good fit for this? 

 Boey: Like how anything can be a canvas, I believe anything could be a tool as well.People are always surprised when I tell them I drew with a sharpie. A lot of them think it is liquid acrylics, or other fancy pens. “No, it’s with a sharpie.”The sharpie has a nice tip and it has a good consistent ink flow. It is also cheap. And cheap doesn’t mean bad.

 Q:  Tell us about some of your favorite designs.  Why do they resonate with you?

 Boey: I like the ones that are more personal, like a dining experience with a friend over sake and stories. I also like waves; hence a lot of my cups have a spaghetti-like, wave motif to it. One of my favorite Japanese artists who has influenced me heavily is Hokusai, and I think a lot about how he draws his waves when I draw mine.

 Q: What is the longest amount of time you have spent on one cup?

His cups sell for hundreds.

His cups sell for hundreds.

 Boey: 3 months. I don’t do initial drafts on the cups, so what you see is on the final product is the first pass. It takes forever to work on an elaborate piece because my next line could completely ruin the composition. Or I get nervous about drawing certain shapes. Or poses.

So sometimes I take hours to figure out the composition in my head, sometimes I don’t come back to it for months.

I have to also make sure the foam cups are absolutely lint/ hair free. They charge up easily and tiny hairs or lint can stick to it. And when the fine point on the sharpie catches one of these hairs, a thin line can suddenly become a broad stroke. Terrible.

More designs.

More designs.

Q:Do you think you’ll expand the idea to other items?

Boey: Sure. Anything is possible right?

Q: Anything else you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

 Boey:I could use some free sharpies. I go thru about 1 every 2 days.

 

 View more of Cheeming Boey’s art at: http://rectangletriangle.googlepages.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13895571@N04/3667583242/in/set-72157614580046629/

Contact Boey:rectangletriangle@gmail.com

 

23 thoughts on “Cup ‘o Sharpie

  1. wow u rock
    i just got accepted into CAPA creative and performing arts school but i don’t think i coulc ever b as good as u

  2. A Sharpie “INKtern” is a play on the word intern. The name was given to us by our lovely Twitter family in a contest to name the summer interns. We’re backing up Susan Wassel, Sharpie’s PR guru in Sharpie’s efforts to bring to you any and everything Sharpie via the world wide web, helping with campaign ideas and other intern stuff. It’s a great internship! (Free sharpies too) :)

  3. I think this is great – what a way to involve people and have a true conversation about the use of Sharpie and how it can be FUN. Makes me want to keep up to date on what u guys are doing – keep up the good work Stephanie, and also Sharpie – love the play on words (inktern and uncapped!) I think this effort will go far and I’ll be watching…

  4. now THAT is some creativity. This goes to show, you don’t need freakin’ expensive art stuff or a great big canvas to make beautiful art. :)

  5. Pingback: |

  6. Pingback: Sharpie Styrofoam Cup Art | Cheeming Boey

  7. Fabulous artwork, terrible decision to use Styrofoam. It’s structures are easily destroyed, but it NEVER biodegrades. We need less Styrofoam in the world, NOT MORE.

  8. Very nice! Makes me want more tattoos … and definitely cups, decorated with some vicious samurai stuff … actually just do as much as you can, please, to help limit blank Styrofoam cups from being thrown away.

  9. Your sharpie art is awesome, Im trying to start my own sharpie art, I just dont know what to do

  10. I love your work. Its really creative! I loved the designs, their so well thought out and beautiful! I can’t wait to try it out myself- better watch out, I might get you more admirer’s xD

  11. Pingback: 31-year-old artist and animator, Cheeming Boey of Newport Beach, California creates art on styrofoam cups with Sharpies. | John Rizzo's Portfolio

  12. Pingback: 31-year-old artist and animator, Cheeming Boey of Newport Beach, California creates art on styrofoam cups with Sharpies. | 520red

  13. Pingback: Kaffeebecherkunst | Julius Meinl Poetry Café

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