Painting With Coffee / by John Javellana

Today’s assignment was very much more interesting than the usual. Went to Marikina with TV to do a feature on Filipino artist Sunshine Plata who uses coffee for her artworks. Plata, 28, produces different shades of brown by mixing varying quantities of instant coffee with water. Her works have been exhibited locally here in Manila and even sponsored by coffee giants such as Nescafe. Her artworks have gone as far as being exhibited all the way in the Ripley’s museum in New York and was even featured in the Martha Stewart show. Her works currently sells for $895-$1791.

But the road towards her success is one that was not paved smoothly. Sunshine always wanted to take up a fine arts at her Alma Matter of the University of Santo Tomas. But instead, she, in her own words, halfheartedly took up Psychology and became a preschool teacher for five years. She eventually gave it up to concentrate her life for the one thing that she truly loved - painting. I admired her for living her dream. Quite suitingly, she gets all the ideas for her artworks from her dreams. All the images she paints come from images she sees and remembers whenever she sleeps.

Sunshine admitted that she didn’t have the access to expensive materials that the typical artists use when she started. A trip to the Ripley’s musem was where the idea of using coffee as paint sprung when she saw an exhibited 19th century artifact with a signature that was written using coffee and thought that if a coffee signature could be preserved for a long time, what more for a painting? Apart from painting full time, she advocates the promotion of using coffee for artworks by giving out workshops from time to time.