Coffee Talk

Writings by Edward Patrick Kranz (Ezju) about fine art created with coffee. You will find detailed information on Ezju’s works created at No Such Animal Studios and information about other artists who use coffee as a medium.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

I'll have to think about this one a minute or two. Check back.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Straight From Death Row: Coffee Painting

Hey look it’s another article with prison inmates using coffee as a creative medium! I wonder if I should worry about my future. Am I a candidate for caffeinated incarcerated artistic expression syndrome?

Seriously though - this article is more about 3 brothers who are maintaining their innocents and raising money for their defense fun. Below is the excerpt pertaining to coffee painting. I would encourage you to read the full article and follow some of the links therein. It’s an interesting crime mystery drama!

Echols is not allowed any art supplies in prison, so his work is often created with whatever materials he can scrounge, including coffee and old magazines.
This one-night-only event includes music, speaking, and poetry readings by good ol’ Henry Rollins, veteran rocker Jonathan Richman and this SFist's personal favorite, sexy mop-headed former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez.

Enjoy, who knows maybe you’ll be the one to help set these three free. What the heck, Henry Rollins did his part in reading poetry at the one-night-only event.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

There is still a lot of ground to cover in legitimizing the use of edibles in art

A colleague of mine, Leslie Riches, recently curated a show at the Kirkland Arts Center with food not only as the subject matter but also the medium. The show, Menu: Edible Elements of Art, is running from May 12th through June 3rd, 2006. About 2 years ago she curated another show, You Wear What You Eat: The Sociology, Politics, And Joy of Food, with a similar theme. In addition to curating food themed shows she uses food in her own artwork as well.

Another interesting show Eat Art: Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Sonja Alhäuser at the Busch-Reisinger Museum (October 5th – December 16th, 2001) used food as a medium to address concerns of social change, satire and pleasure. In this show the “plexiglass” covers were edible and eaten during the course of the show! I recommend the Art in Progress link at the bottom of the page featuring Sonja Alhäuser edible art.

In a recent e-mail Leslie told me that people have suggested to her that she stop using food in her art and curating. How absurd! I wonder what those people think art is. Both Menu and Eat Art are based on our cultures relationship with our food; good and bad.

Leslie wrote “I think there is still so much to say with it and so much to do toward legitimizing and unifying the use of edibles in art.” I couldn’t agree with her more. As early as the Dadaists in the 1920’s edible materials have been used as a powerful metaphor and equalizer commenting on consumption, politics or just for making art for arts sake.

In my own art I use coffee as a medium and device to comment on cultural issues. Response to my work has been very positive. In March of 2007 I plan to paint on a small farm in Guatemala with their coffee. In the next year I plan to curate a show featuring artwork derived from coffee. If all goes as planned there will be artist from around the world participating. I’ll keep you posted on that one!

I hope Leslie continues her art and curating using food. There is still a lot of ground to cover in legitimizing the use of edibles in art. This is one of the reasons Menu was so important to me. Those who get it really appreciate it. Those who don’t can buy Shopping Mall prints and be content.

For more information on Ezju and No Such Animal Studios please visit his Web site at

Friday, May 12, 2006

What Came From the Artists Was Very High Concept

Menu: edible elements of art
Kirkland Arts Center
May 12th through June 3rd.

Ah, opening night receptions! Got’a love’em! This show was curated by Leslie Riches and was put together masterfully! It’s rare that I’ll attend a show that I love just about every thing about but this one did it. It starts out with a very simple premise; food as art. What came from the artists was very high concept.

I found that the flow of the gallery worked very well with the sets of work on display. As posted earlier, I was to display a eight foot by eight foot en caustic coffee painting of a barista’s rosetta foam art. I understand fully why the portraits from the coffee culture series were opted for by the facilities director, Jason. I can’t imagine that painting in with the rest of this work. Excellent job!

Most of the artists were present for the opening and all were very gracious and pleasant to talk with. I would like to thank each one for their insight and approachability.

One of the goals of this show and the Kirkland Arts Center was to show contemporary art in an area that historically hasn’t embraced it. This was approached with the idea of using food as the theme so everyone could connect with the concept.

Because of the subject matter and hunger in the Northwest despite an over-abundance of food this Opening Reception was also a food drive to benefit Hopelink’s Kirkland Service Center, and all visitors were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items.

Here are some highlights to the show:

Carmen Valdes (Seattle, WA) put together one of the most compelling installations ever utilizing rice. Two larger than life, larger than me, chop sticks were intricately adorned with thousands upon thousands of grains of rice. The patterns she obtained with the naturally colored, hand sorted, rice is as lavish as treasured tapestries. A must see. Very smart. A textural statement on the worlds dependency on rice. Very rich visually.

Theresa Lovering-Brown (Davis, CA) created beautifully encased garlic and chili peppers wrapped with sterling silver and steel. Her work presented here revolves around immigrant workers she sees everyday toiling away. Theresa’s vision, attention to detail and skill combine to make very desirable wearable art.

Teresa was kind enough to pose for a photo of what she was wearing to the show. These pieces are wonderful to view on a pedestal and even more stunning on such a radiant woman.

Patty Cokus (Seattle, WA) had one of my favorite concepts. This one took a second round to get the full effect for me and a second “wow.”

The first time viewing her capillary tubes and reading the description I got the idea that food is carried in our blood stream and it’s what makes our body what it is. Patty had taken very small bits of food and some how, meticulously placed it inside the blood capillary tubes. Of these she made unique looking sculptures or jewelry. This was a wonderful idea, very worthy of being in this show.

The second time around I noticed the individual sculptures not only had food in them but each one was a different type of diet. The furthest to the left was a very health diet and the furthest to the right was packed full of Dick’s burgers and greasy fries! To go even further the health diet sculpture had a resemblance to a healthy hourglass figure while the further to the right you go the more bulbous and unflattering the sculptures became. The second wow.

Dee Fontans (Calgary, Alberta) is a performance artist and contributed some wonderful images of clothing made of food as well as many small tiles (pins?) made of Japanese seaweed. Some of the jewelry she had on display consisted of tubes with different types of food in them. A couple of her outfits were on display as well.

Edward Patrick Kranz – Ezju (Seattle, WA) displayed 6 of his coffee culture series. These images are scenes of coffee culture here in Seattle painted with coffee as the medium. This on going series is an attempt to take a look at different cultures of the world through one of the most influential commodities around. The coffee bean. The next step in this series is a trip to Guatemala and Costa Rica to paint the fair trade farmers and how their culture is affected by coffee beans. There should be a telling contrast in the two sets of paintings.

Tom Müller (Los Angeles, CA) had two excellent works in progress for us to witness. One has been decaying since 2003 and the other was a more recent (set up yesterday) display of oranges under bricks on wooden blocks. This piece will change throughout the course of the month long show. Theoretically each time you visit the piece will be different. Last night there was juice from one of the oranges that exploded under the weight of the bricks! What fun!

Seriously Tom’s work shows a wonderful juxtaposition of organic and inanimate objects and the beauty of change. Again, wonderfully thought out work.

Toi Sennhauser (Seattle, WA) had one of the more interactive pieces at Menu. A cleverly crafted vender cart peddling wish cream puffs! A patron could purchase an unfilled cream puff for $1. Using a funnel hose with a cream puff filler attachment the patron then plugged the filler end into the cream puff and whispered a secret into the funnel. Once the secret was safely inside the pastry real cream was then pushed in to fill the void and hole. The patron could then eat their wish or serve it someone else to try.

When I attempted this I found it hard to come up with a secret. After a few moments I did and filled my cream puff! Leaving my secret cream puff for someone else to consume a friend of mine and I pondered the consequences of telling my secret to her. Would something happen to the cream puff? Was it safe? Should we call Homeland Security?

On a side note, Leslie Riches smashed her secret cream puff on the wall! If only walls really did have ears! What an ear full that one would have got!

Another concept from Toi was a shelf with three candy jars. The candies were repetitive of who she thought her Mother, Father and Husband were in context of color, flavor, smell and texture in the mouth. I tried a piece of her husband first and found him to be rather rich tasting as in a toffee but after several minutes a powerful but not overwhelming hot spice kicked in. All in all she has a good man.

Toi’s mother was a lighter colored, salty taste of a lady that gave way to a very sweat core. This was in contrast to her father that had an amber color and tasted just that. Tasty but not too sweet, not too spicy or salty. Just good. There were some flakes of flavor that would spark out momentarily and then resume the amber flavor. Mellow Yellow. This was a very cool multi-sensational reorientation of her loved ones. I enjoyed her family.

Josephine Balakrishnan (Berkeley, CA)teased our senses with the power of chocolate! Three fun pieces made of chocolate, edible rice paper and edible ink captured our eyes with whimsical imagery and torture our noses and taste buds with the desire to consume her delicious work.

There was joking about pitching in and purchasing one of the bars to eat it. Just to put some of us out of our misery. I’m not so sure it was all humor though. I’ll have to back and see if all three made it through the night!

All in all I had a wonderful time. Made some new friends. Talked to some old friends. Even learned a thing or two. I’m looking for a book now. The History of the World in Just 6 Cups. Apparently it explains history through a few beverages and how the world we know today was shaped by them. I’ll let you know if I find it, read it and what I think.

If you haven’t made it to Menu: edible elements of art I would highly recommend it!

Menu is funded in part with grants from 4Culture, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Premier Properties, Artsfund and individuals.

Leslie Riches has been a member of the Seattle Metals Guild since 1996. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Washington and studied metal work at Lynne Henry Studios. Past exhibits include the Larson Gallery in Yakima, BKB and Company, and the Commencement Gallery in Tacoma. Her work was in the 2004 Tacoma Art Museum’s Northwest Biennial.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Receiving envelopes reeking of Nescafe was odd . . .Antjuan Oden’s Coffee Paintings

I had heard stories about someone very much like Antjuan Oden though from the bio I read on Garde Rail Gallery is the person I’m thinking about or not. Reg’s web site I’m not sure if thisardless, his coffee painting is very intriguing. I’ve included some quotes from the Garde Rail Gallery’s site and images of Antjuan Oden’s work. For more information on this curiosity please vist Garde Rail Gallery’s site for full text and more paintings. I’ll look into whether or not this is the same person I have heard about or not before I write any more on the matter.

Antjuan Oden

He paints on found objects, using paper and wood, large pieces and small. Employing mainly acrylics, he will also incorporate ink and chalk into his paintings, coating everything with a polyurethane finish for protection and shine. Symbols are found in his work, and Antjuan will often write on his art. He is constantly painting or writing (he has a couple of plays in the works and writes poetry), and is always experimenting with media and ideas. "I have to express myself, it's constant, and it's always coming out of me. My work has really changed since moving to the Northwest, it's real exciting."

Using bits of rolled up tissue paper as brushes, Antjuan painted these pieces with coffee as his paint. Scraps of paper served as Antjuan's canvas. He completed nearly 75 pieces and mailed them to us.

Receiving envelopes reeking of Nescafe was odd, but opening them to discover what was inside was fascinating. The depth of these pieces is astounding; the complexity, the darkness, the sense of humor, the reoccurring characters, all contribute to an amazing body of work. When we later spoke with Antjuan and the conditions under which these pieces were completed was revealed, it only added to our amazement. It is this body of work that helps to exemplify the commitment to create that resides within Antjuan.

Garde Rail Gallery specializing in self-taught, folk & outsider art

110 Third Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104



Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Best Made Plans of Mice and Baristas!

I know I said I wasn’t going to post an image of the finished painting before the show but as it turns out (read below) Rosetta a la Helen Sage will not be in the MENU: Edible Elements of Art show.

Here is the finished piece . . .

For some perspective on the size of this thing, it’s leaning against my van!

Final info about the show before the show . . .

Ezju will be participating in his first invitational! MENU: Edible Elements of Art at the Kirkland Arts Center. The show will run from May 12th through June 3rd, 2006. The Opening reception will be heldarts center on May 11th at 6:00pm – 9:00pm. I hope to see you all there!

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men . . . due to a miscommunication . . . between the curator and me . . . the director and the curator . . . peanut butter and marshmallow fluff . . . there has been a change in plans.

e painting Rosetta a la Helen Sage” will not be in the show MENU: Edible Elements of Art. Instead there will be 6 of the Coffee Culture paintings that I am best known for at the moment.

You should still come to the show and check out my work and that of all the other talented artists who will be there!

If you are interested in viewing: “Rosetta a la Helen Sage” I plan to be open for the June 1st Downtown Seattle First Thursday Art Walk.

The studio address is:

No Such Animal Studios
1020 First Ave. South # 410
Seattle, WA
. 98134


“What can we learn from the use of edible elements in art? What can the artist show us about these volatile issues: about immediacy, progression, and beauty?”

Artists who are participating:

Josephine Balakrishnan--prints/paper
Patty Cokus--jewelry
Dee Fontans--edible wearables
Edward Patrick Kranz (Ezju)--painting
Theresa Lovering-Brown--jewelry
Tom Muller--ceramics
Toi Sennhauser--installation/performance
Carmen Z. Valdes--sculpture

Food is an explosive subject. Our society has such a food surfeit that eating choices have come to involve politics, morals, and popular trends over simply what is available. Social and economic factors have resulted in a population of overweight poor - junk food being cheaper and more readily available in urban centers than nutritious foods. Religious factors influence food choices and preparation. Even what is accepted as a food item differs from culture to culture.

There are many parts of the world where food destitution makes the use of edibles in artworks impossible, if not unthinkable.
At the same time, food is beautiful, colorful - pleasant to the eye and sensual to experience.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Prison, A Wife’s Devotion, Redemption and Art with Coffee; what more could you ask for?

I ran across and article in the Tallahassee Democrat ( written by Desiree Pulley regarding Issac and Betty Williams need for donations to show art from an unlikely source, behind bars. This article originally caught my attention because of a quote that has a creative solution to an artistic problem.

These artists get creative. “One guy was drawing and he ran out of brown," Betty said, "so he used coffee grounds."

My interest continued because of the true message of the article. Issac and Betty need help to display art created by inmates Issac got to know while he was one of them. Yes, he was in prison, repaid his debt to society, and has now started Love N. FL. Inc, an organization to minister to prison inmates. Part of their plan is to unveil artwork created by inmates.

This is a truly remarkable story of love and devotion. Betty waited 8 Years for her husband; they have adopted a child and are giving back to society. Issac attributes all of his recent good fortune to his wife of 17 years. Issac believes in second chances and wants to share this with others. The immediate need is to frame the artwork ($100 each) so they are looking for donations.

How to Help
Go to any Tallahassee SunTrust location, mention the story of Issac and Betty Williams, and you'll be allowed to make a deposit to help pay for frames for the display of prison art.
For more information, call Alison Iglehart, (850) 668-0993.

If you have a moment to read the full article it can be found here >>

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Latté Art Imitates Latté Art

Well it’s just on day before I have to deliver the 8’ x 8’ en caustic coffee painting, “Rosetta a la Helen Sage” to the Kirkland Arts Center for MENU: Edible Elements of Art. Talk about cutting it close. I’ll finish the painting tonight and frame it. Too close.

MENU: Edible Elements of Art will have its opening reception on May 11th, 2006 from 6pm ‘till 9pm at the Kirkland Arts Center. Please visit their site for more information on the show and the artists who will be participating in this invitational that will run from May 12th through June 3rd, 2006. Sadly there is very little information on the web site about the show which is curated by Leslie M. Riches.

To see how the painting started please see –


Continuing from where those entries left off . . .

The next layer of coffee has been added defining the shape of the Rosetta and “cup” area.

A layer of wax (microcrystalline) is applied and fused with a heat gun.

More coffee and subsequently more wax are applied.

Now the cream rises to the top. I use thick applications of wax to build up the white that will become the milk.

Using the translucent quality of the wax to allow the coffee under painting to show through helps build depth and texture.

Wanting this piece to have a rich texture akin to the flavor of coffee I have applied very thick applications of coffee so when the wax is fused around it the surface will have a stunning physical texture to compliment the swirl of coffee and pigment.

That’s all for now. The next entry about this painting will show it finished and on the wall at the Kirkland Arts Center on opening night! See you there! Awe, come on. How often do you get to see the mother of all Rosettas?

For more information on Ezju, his work and No Such Animal Studios please feel free to visit his web site at Original paintings and prints are available!

You can also read his corporate blog at SharpLogic Software where he works as their art director.