For some of us, coffee may be our go-to morning caffeine boost. But for Spanish artist, Nuria Salcedo, it's the best kind of paint.
She uses it as the medium for her buzzworthy portraits, which evoke the likeness of celebrities like Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens, Jared Leto, and Eddie Redmayne just to name a few. Each piece begins with a sketch in brown pencil. Once it's finished, Salcedo begins the coffee-coloring process (Nescafé is her favorite). After painting a couple of layers, she goes back in to add detail with brown pencil. And it's the minutia of her pieces — from a wisp of hair to the ink of a tattoo — that makes you stop and stare. "I spend so many hours working on the details," she tells Martha Stewart Living. "For me, they are what make my work more special."
[GREAT FIND: This Embroidery is Bright, Colorful, and Brings Portraits to Life]
With an Instagram feed (@nuriamarq) full of exquisite, espresso-toned portraits, it's hard to believe she's never taken an art class. In fact, Salcedo originally studied architecture. While she admits she's always loved drawing, art was never more than a hobby between jobs.
It wasn't until the self-taught artist started sharing her work on social media that everything changed. Through hours of practice, endless trial-and-error, and trying her hand at traditional techniques, she knew that she "needed something to stand out." When she stumbled upon the work of fellow "coffee artist," Maria A. Aristidou, Salcedo decided to give the unusual technique a try. "I fell in love with it after finishing my first piece," she says. "And I have not stopped using coffee since."
When it comes to inspiration, nothing is off limits. Salcedo spends hours looking through images on sites, like Pinterest, then combines different looks into new ideas. For someone who works with coffee daily, the artist admits she doesn't actually drink much of it, but this doesn't stop her from creating. "With faith, passion, and coffee, I hope to achieve a great level one day." (Might we suggest your next subject: Martha herself?)
Feeling inspired? Try your hand at making a splatter-painted silk scarf: