Rather than throw his used Starbucks cups in the trash, Seoul-based illustrator Soo Min Kim does something better: he turns the materials into art.
For years now, Kim has been using Starbucks cups as an unconventional canvas. Armed with only a green marker, he doodles around the company logo, creating funny and strange scenarios for the iconic mermaid.
Some of his works imagine the siren as real-life people, like a distraught commuter or a stressed-out mum with three kids. Other times, Kim draws her as imaginary characters or pop culture icons such as a robot, King Kong, and Spider-Man.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Kim to know more about him and his paper cup art. Check it out:
What made you decide to draw on Starbucks cups?
“At first, I just painted on normal paper cups. But one day I realized that it’s more interesting to draw on Starbucks paper cups. I drink Starbucks coffee every day and there were many used Starbucks paper cups on my desk.
“I also chose this medium because the siren image gives me the limit of thought, but at the same time, the limit brings out more creative ideas. When I do a paper cup work, I always think that siren image is another me.”
What was the first design you made?
“My first work. I painted my wish.”
How difficult was it drawing back when you started as compared to now?
“I don’t feel ‘difficult’ about these things both then and now. It’s just my personal work for pleasure. I draw when I have an idea, I don’t draw when I have no idea.”
Tell us more about your creative process. How do you come up with your designs? And how long does it take for you to finish?
“Most of my works comes from my personal wish, complaint, dissatisfaction, etc. Every day I drink coffee while thinking and drawing at my office. It takes a day, a few days, or a few hours in several cases.”
What are you working on next?
“I still have lots to do with Starbucks paper cups. So I have no idea yet.”