Cheeming Boey draws on styrofoam cups with a Sharpie marker to make intricate, beautiful works of art– each of which sell for anything between $180 to $420 USD. You can see varied techniques on his cups: everything from pointillism to Japanese woodcut artistry is incorporated. The stark black and white images that end up on these cups are meant to last forever, since styrofoam is notoriously un-biodegradable, yet the low-brow disposable cups also make people take a second look, since we’re so used to merely throwing them away. To quote from his interview on the OC Register:
“I’m often asked, ‘Why don’t you draw on something more solid – like a ceramic cup?’ ” he says.
“Yes, Styrofoam is kind of flimsy but it’s strong in other ways,” he adds, using the word “Styrofoam” as most people do, generically, and incorrectly, to describe cups made of polystyrene foam.
“These cups last thousands of years, and my Sharpie says it’s permanent ink. These things are going to last generations. It’s archival material.”
These images below are from Boey’s flickr account, where he logs all of his past cups, and he also has an Etsy account for the cups if you’re interested in dropping a couple hundred bucks on a sharpied styrofoam cup:
Boey is a Malaysian-born artist who now works in California, and I highly recommend his blog, which features little cartoon caricatures of himself and his friends in MLIA scenes. And remember, if you ever feel the need to own one of these, just visit his shop and give up buying coffee for a month– the coffee withdrawal will eventually stop, but the art that you get will last forever.