Maria Aristidou: Portraits with Coffee

Check-in, People

Her work is infused with the aromas of Cypriot coffee, and it is viral!

Text: Romina Xyda

Photos: Panagiotis Mina

Sometimes, a quick mental journey back in time will suffice to remind oneself of their destiny. This was the case for artist Maria Aristidou. She states, “From when I was little, I do not remember doing anything other than painting with markers and crayons – even my mum’s lipstick. I painted everywhere, including on the walls and furniture of our house.”

High School led to studies in the fine arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, followed by a Master in Arts Health degree at Central Lancashire University. However, a mishap earned Maria recognition in a way she could never have imagined. According to her, “One day, while working with watercolours on a commissioned portrait, I accidentally spilt coffee on it. Instead of throwing it away or bursting into tears, I simply carried on doing what I was doing. I brushed it off, so to speak. I wanted to see how far this medium could take me; I found it fascinating! I began to paint portraits exclusively with coffee. Somehow, this sparked my curiosity and led me to where I am today. So far, the highlight of my career was when Hugh Laurie, the famous Dr House, posted my portrait of him to his millions of fans on social media. Equally moving was when Bill Bailey, the star comedian, signed his portrait. That gave my craft even more impetus. Something I find difficult is portraits of politicians. To me, they are uninspiring.”

On working with colours, Maria says, “I don’t miss the colour spectrum. I prefer working within the range of shades provided by coffee, from browns to creams.” Though she can paint with any coffee, she prefers the Cypriot, stating, “I find it the only one that offers more variations in shade and texture.” As for her motto, it is none other than, “Never give up!”

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