Familiarity with a Twist
More explorations on The Coffee Collage Series
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As you can tell from this post, I’m still on the coffee-themed collage train trying out ideas and exploring where it’ll go. Take for example the video above. The cafe setting was part of the inspiration for these artworks. It seemed fitting to capture the feeling of walking through a cafe as the smell of coffee wafts in the room. Culling video footage and sound effects was a fun endeavor. The swing track with the lovely horns, piano, and snare drum beat was a lucky find— the cadence of the tune and nostalgic feel were spot on.
This week, I read an articlethat mentioned the work of Raymond Loewy, an industrial designer, known for the MAYA principle (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable). “He believed that consumers are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a curiosity about new things; and neophobia, a fear of anything too new. As a result, they gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible.” In other words, there's a sweet spot between these two that appeals to the largest number of people. I'll call it, familiarity a twist.
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The article goes on to say, “A great industrial designer, it turns out, needs to be an anthropologist first and an artist second.” Hmm, I never thought of this before. What if I apply this principle to the coffee collage series? Coffee is already a familiar subject so I might as well give it a try.
Researching online led me down a rabbit hole. I dove into statistics and articles on coffee consumption. Men drank more cups but women spent more. Women drank coffee to relax while men do so for efficiency. 79% of Americans prepare them at home with a preference for drip coffee and taking it black. As for health benefits, mental alertness tops the list. On the con side, the addictive quality of caffeine is often discussed. It went on and on— I was fascinated!
Here are the collages I made this week. Are they even remotely related to what I’ve researched? Maybe, maybe not. However, it provided an entry point for me to think about the coffee cup differently. It was a seed of curiosity that led to inspiration. Regardless of the outcome, the process is what matters. This is the beauty of staying open to possibilities. You can start somewhere and end up in a different place.
My initial coffee collages were simple, using a midcentury color palette combining two to three elements with the coffee cup. On this current iteration, I’ve honed a few techniques/styles after several months of creating work for theWeekly Challenge and applied them to this new batch.
Where do your ideas come from? Where do you get your inspiration? I would love to know. If you have any comments about the work, I am always happy to hear your feedback. One last thing, if anyone is interested in purchasing a print, let me know so I can put them up on my online shop. Thank you!
Derek Thompson. The Four-Letter Code to Sell Just About Anything. (Washington DC: The Atlantic, 2022)
Familiarity with a Twist