What could be more conventional, dull, boring and ordinary … than a disposable coffee cup or a black magic marker? Yet together, these everyday items can be used to doodle … or even draw complex, subtle and sublime scenes in simple matte black set on the stubbly curved surface of an impromptu off-white canvas. They may look fairly simple but the material is touch-sensitive: there is no way to sketch out a draft first, and the curves make things more difficult as well.
Call it a fluke, luck, skill or ingenuity, but Iamboey has taken his simple concept and crafted works now available for sale online – or to view on his likewise minimalist black-on-white website.
Some are more complex, a few even have color, others treat the rounded surface of the cup as a kind of three-dimensional space for expression. A little like wood block or intaglio prints, each one has the sense of being part of a larger body of work – perhaps a work in progress, even – yet individual and distinct as well.
So why has he been successful? What is it that makes his pieces so captivating? These are open questions, of course, but perhaps at least part of the story behind this new sensation is in the combination of simplicity, variety and the accessibility of a small object most folks can afford. You too could own an ordinary product design turned into a personal one-of-a-kind work of art.
“People draw on napkins, receipts, wood. I was outside a coffee shop and had the urge to sketch while people watched. I found a foam cup on top of a trash can, and it was all I had, so that was what I worked with.”
“I don’t like to limit myself to a distinct drawing style. I want to be able to branch out as much as possible. I think that has worked to my advantage, because different styles appeal to different crowds.”