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High-Contrast Coffee Portraits by Betsi Shelffo

A portrait of Mr. Spock from Star Trek made with coffee beansBean me up, Scotty

Betsi Shelffo is an artist who creates high-contrast coffee portraits by attaching layers of roasted coffee beans to a substrate. Her works often come in the form of portraits, depicting celebrities, movie characters, and other pop-culture figures.

A portrait of Buddy Holly made with coffee beansPeggy Su-matra

As a coffee lover myself I am rather drawn to Betsi’s images – her process originally grew out of her explorations with collage and decoupage techniques, becoming a visually streamlined form of this mode of creation. I’m impressed by the amount of detail Betsi is able to coax out of her medium – each bean is affixed to the surface in the perfect spot, with no apparent gaps, creating an image that looks quite smooth when viewed form afar.

The front page of Betsi Shelffo's art websiteBetsi's art website,


Betsi spends numerous hours on each artwork, perfecting the design and placement of her medium. The finished works are polished and almost deceptively simple. The dark color of the coffee beans contrasts against her backgrounds to create a dramatic sense of light and shadow in these two-tone images.

A portrait of Betty Boop made with coffee beansI wanna be brewed by you

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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