Fine Art & Styrofoam/Interview with Cheeming Boey

By Carolyn Edlund

Cheeming Boey has gotten a lot of press about his choice of medium – Sharpie pen on styrofoam cups.  He spoke about how he got started, and his future plans. You can view quite an extensive collection of his incredible work on his website.


The Other Wave


AS:  One of the images you use in your styrofoam cup art is your interpretation of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”. It’s such an iconic image, and you combined it with an unexpected, funky and non-traditional art medium. Are you making a statement about art or just having fun?

CB: Hokusai’s works inspired me greatly when I was a kid. Later on , his lineworks in The Great Wave also influenced the way I would draw mine. The way the waves look is very different –  mine feeling more spaghetti-like, but his waves are what I look at when I draw mine.  I don’t believe art has to be limited to the canvas.   Some of my best ideas start off on napkins at a bar or restaurant.  I like art when it’s spontaneous.  I believe you can make good out of anything, even the humble 4C foam cup that has gotten so much negative rap over the years.


Message Center


AS:  Lots of artists struggle with “taking the leap” and finding their own style and identity. Yours happened accidentally. Can you tell us how you got started?

CB: I think everyone’s drawn on cups, or scribbled.  I found some of my drawings on my first few cups interesting, and I kept them.  A co-worker saw me drawing one day and asked what I was going to do with all the cups cluttering around my workstation.  I said, “They’re kinda nice, maybe I can sell them one day.”

I guess it got started when he said, “No one’s going to buy that crap.” Then I made it a mission to prove him wrong.


Pew Pew Pew


AS:  Your artwork is selling for up to $480 each, and has been popular. What feedback do you get as to why people are collecting your work?

CB: The reaction I get from people is really mixed.  Some will never pay the price for what they consider to be trash.  I can see why.  But just because it is labeled “disposable” doesn’t mean it has to be.  Most people who buy my work believe in what is drawn on it, and not what I drew on.  But they’ve also asked me if I do work on flat canvases.  To me, curved surfaces provide so much more challenge.  Just the process of trying not to mess up because I am drawing directly with a sharpie on a curved surface makes everything so much more exciting.


Red Kimono


AS:  Do you have plans to do anything new with your work in the future?

I’m hoping to get my art onto cup noodle packaging sometime.  Right now, I am more focused on trying to get a book out about my day to day life.  I am going to try to get that published with other materials I have been working on.


River Phoenix


AS:  Which of your cups is your personal favorite?

CB: I don’t have a personal favorite, because they all mean something in one way or another to me.  Perhaps “pew pew pew” because it reminds me of having dinner back home with my family when I was a kid.  Now that my sister and I have grown up and moved away from home, it’s hard to find time to have dinners together.  I miss that.


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  1. What interesting interesting art! The level of detail is amazing. Thank you for sharing these with us!

  2. Check out Cheeming Boey’s website and sales galleries – he has a huge collection of work which you will really enjoy . . .

  3. Hi!

    Agreed that Boey’s work is awesome — We included him in the second set of Artists Edition kraft paper book covers.

    [email protected] city jackets

  4. Jeremy, that’s great to know and thanks for including this link.

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