Painting with coffee grinds

Avi Roth is possessed by coffee. Not just the need to consume it, but what he can create with it. He’s converted his studio in Pasadena into an art gallery to showcase work he’s been making for six years now: Lithographs from coffee. Or as he calls them, coffeegraphs.

Aquatic Maiden

I toured the gallery last week, where over 40 pieces are expertly lit and hung. (And where Roth made me a delicious espresso, although he won’t divulge the source of the beans.) He told me, “Everything that you see here was made out of the precious liquid that you drink every morning.” Then he corrected himself: “It wasn’t really made. It’s a cooperation between nature and myself.”

The works are mixed-media: grounds, liquid, foam, layered, sometimes over a period of days. Never, Roth says, does he use a brush.  After he’s content with the work, he photographs it through a microscope. Occasionally he adds color, as with the Aquatic Maiden pictured here.

Wizard

Roth says the idea of making art with coffee came to him when he stared at a sink filled with dirty coffee cups six years ago–and in the grounds, an image appeared: “I do believe that the spirit of these images existed prior. I just happened to remove the veil and expose them.” He’s hoping art patrons are similarly consumed by his work.  Coming soon to the walls of your favorite neighborhood espresso bar, perhaps? Roth won’t mind. He’s a businessman as well as an artist. Hear more below: