1001 Coffee Cup Stories

Gwyneth Leech's avatar Gwyneth Leech

I like my coffee or tea in a paper take-out cup. Even better than the contents, I like the used cup as a surface on which to draw and paint. And on the bottom of each one, I write the date, location, occasion and beverage consumed so that every hand-made cup artwork becomes the record of a social moment. For ArtPrize I am showing 1001 of my cup artworks, each representing a daily caffeine break. The installation makes visible largely unconscious patterns of consumption; this is what one simple take-away purchase looks like over the course of three years, this is what would usually be thrown away. It can be seen as a measure of time gone by, of money spent, of space to be taken up in a landfill. But as I upcycle each used cup into an artwork, it becomes the measure of other things as well: an artist's regular habit of generating new ideas, a diary of time spent with friends and colleagues, and the cumulative positive effect of doing something small and manageable every day.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 10 feet
  • Medium: Mixed media on upcycled paper coffee cups
  • Width: 20 feet
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: 14 feet