Malaysian creates portraits from coffee stains

HONG YI, 26, an architect from Sabah with the nick name of Red Hong, has taken 12 hours to complete painting a portrait of Taiwanese singer Jay Chou using coffee cup stains. She had previously received unexpected fame on the YouTube when she used a basketball to paint a portrait of Yao Ming.

She uploaded her latest undertaking online on Feb 15 ( and it garnered over 2,000 hits just hours after it was uploaded. By 9pm Malaysia time today (Feb 22) within a week, there have been 159,738 visitors.

Red Hong admitted that she initially had butterflies in her stomach to work on another piece of art following her last success.

“When I received a lot of sudden attention, I became nervous. I have learned that the only person I should satisfy is myself and God,” she told Durie Rainer Fong, of The Star in an interview.

“I delayed this project because it took a bit of trial and error and I was only able to paint on weekends, as I have a full-time job,” said Hong, who works for an Australian firm in Shanghai.

She said Chou’s portrait took longer to finish as the medium she used was more challenging.

“Too much water and the rings would not form easily, and I had to be precise with placing the cup,” she said.

Hong was inspired to paint Chou, who also starred in Hollywood’s re-make of The Green Hornet, from the opening of his song Secret.

“The opening sentence was about lifting a coffee cup off the saucer, which is why I have chosen to use coffee cup stains as the main tool in this portrait,” she said.

“I’m constantly inspired by things I see, smell, touch and feel.

“Art is my outlet and it allows me to fully express who I am”, she said, adding that a bigger project was in the offing.

“It may not be a portrait, but it will be a very interesting piece,” Hong promised.

She is indeed an artist of great promise.


Portrait of Zhang with 750 pairs of socks

Shanghai: Shanghai-based artist, Hong Yi, paid tribute to Chinese film director Yimou Zhang in a unique fashion—by creating a large-scale monochromatic portrait of him with 750 pairs of socks.

Hong Yi is quite famous for her amazing works regarding portraits of renowned people made from different things.

She first got the idea of this peculiar art work when she stumbled across a little alleyway in Shanghai, filled with clotheslines made of bamboo sticks with various clothing items hanging above her. She was astonished to see such a traditional aspect of life in a modern city like Shanghai.

The unique art medium is also related to Yimou Zhang who uses bamboo sticks in his period films, as well as in the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony he directed.

Hong Yi, also known as “Red”, has got fame on the internet for such projects. She has also made portraits of Yao Ming created with a basketball and Jay Chou by spilling coffee.


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