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Art that Helps Coffee Sustainability

Artist who paints with coffee teams up with sustainable coffee importer to increase impact

Thursday, Sept 1, 2016


Starting in September 2016, Steven Mikel will begin painting with expired direct-sourced coffee from THRIVE Farmers to create his Dark Roast Paintings. Steven's collected paintings, ranging in price from $1,000 to $7,000, hang in fine art galleries in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Additionally, Steven has pledged to donate 10% of all related painting sales to support sustainable development projects among coffee farming communities via the ThriveWorx Foundation, the non-profit arm of THRIVE Farmers International.


Steven shares his feelings about the partnership this way. "It's exciting to finally have a system in place which brings everything I do full-circle. By collaborating with the ThriveWorx Foundation, I will be able to use coffee that would have been wasted, brew it down into my Dark Roast Painting resin, paint my passion, and then give back to the industry I love by using some of the proceeds to impact the very communities that grow coffee"


Steven started painting with coffee in 2008 as a result of trying to utilize the wasted coffee his family had during the week. However, as paintings sold and gallery inventory increased he found himself brewing fresh coffee to convert to paint. In early 2016, while chatting with a local coffee roaster in Ft. Lauderdale, Steven was informed that sometimes they have coffee that does not sell before it’s ‘best if used by’ date at which time they throw it out or donate it. Steven refers to that conversation as his ‘ah ha’ moment. He at once began searching for a major coffee company with a strong vision for coffee sustainability in order to approach them about using their old, out dated coffee in his paint making process.



Official Press Lease
Download the Press Release September 2016 - Steven Mikel and THRIVE Farmers partnership
THRIVE Farmers & THRIVE Worx Foundation Sustainably Sourced Coffee
Steven Mikel - Dark Roast Paintings; Coffee Abstractions and Dark Roast Watercolors

Some insight into Steven Mikel

The rich sepia tones of Steven Mikel's work glow with an ‘earthy warmth’ and evoke a dynamic flux of shadow and light, interlinked with woven patterns and textures.


His realism paintings demonstrate his attention to detail and skill using watercolor techniques to produce almost a photographic likeness of his varied subjects and unique perspectives, while his mature abstract style has naturally evolved from favorite areas within his realism paintings and are inspired by the often missed details he sees.


Realism Process:

Usually working from a very detailed pencil sketch in his sketch book, Steven sketches his composition lightly on d'Arches 300 lb rough watercolor paper. This initial sketch may be very loose with only a few lines and basic shapes or extremely detailed depending on the painting subject. Working from Lightest to darkest tones, and not using any masking techniques, he begins applying washes of liquid coffee, layering and painting around areas that will remain as highlights. Continuing with progressively darker washes he adds deeper shadows and details until the painting is complete.


Abstract Process:

Starting with a basic compositional intent, Mikel applies a manipulated under-painting of dark coffee washes to a stretched canvas. Once dry, he then systematically removes and applies additional layers of coffee using various absorbent materials, brushes and implements to create the intricate sepia toned abstractions.


Artist Statement

Artist Bio