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I’ll Have A Medium: New York Design Agency Releases Coffee Cup ‘Art of Art of Art’

coffee cup art

This is a digital representation of a photograph of a print of hand-drawn illustrations based off digital representations of photographs of designs stamped or printed on paper coffee cups. Courtesy of Knowlita. 


When we asked New York-based photographer, former New Zealander and flat-white-drinker Henry Hargreaves last July about his obsession with disposable coffee cups, he described them as like book covers, coloring the reception of the contents within.

Now Hargreaves has teamed up with the New York clothing and print design firm Knowlita to give some permanence to the disposable items in the form of prints. With a larger collection to follow, Knowlita has released the first two prints based on Hargreaves’ cup collection, showing 12 cups from Manhattan and Brooklyn, respectively.

The Manhattan coffee print.

The Manhattan coffee print.

Says Hargreaves, “Our first idea was simply to digitally print my photographs on city-themed prints, but it didn’t quite translate.”

So Knowlita creative director Quincy Moore and Hargreaves commissioned artist Massimo Mongiardo to illustrate the designs based on Hargreaves’ photographs. Says Hargreaves, “They’re art of art.”

By my count and by those definitions, when you include the original cup prints or stamps, they’re actually “art of art of art.” But who’s counting?

“This project is about celebrating design, coffee, and New York — three things that Henry and I are equally passionate about,” Moore says of the project. “It’s always ideal to try and create products that reflect or pay homage to one’s own life and experiences, and these optimize that sentiment.”

The Brooklyn coffee cup print.

The Brooklyn coffee cup print.

The two prints, “Coffee Cups of New York City” and “Coffee Cups of Brooklyn,” are eight- and six-color screen prints, respectively, on 100# cover stock archival paper with water-based inks. Unframed prints — all are signed and numbered by Hargreaves and Mongiardo, and include a Knowlita logo — are selling for $100, while custom black- or white-framed versions cost $250.