Hypergraphia: The Cup Drawings


Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11am-2pm, artist Gwyneth Leech sits inside the glass walls of the Flatiron Prow Art Space drawing on used coffee cups. The other night, my friend Phillip and I went to see the film The Artist after which he walked me to the Subway stop just in front of the Flatiron Building. It seemed perfectly appropriate to stumble onto such a whimsical project after seeing such a whimsical film.

Photo taken by Phillip on his phone. Thanks, Phillip!

The best description of this project (as well as lots of great photos and descriptions of the artist’s other work) can be found on her blog, Gwyneth’s Full Brew in the form of this conversation with a passerby as she was outside wiping finger, nose and palmprints off the windows:

A man came up to me carrying his takeout coffee (small brown cup, flat lid, wrapped in a napkin).

He asked rather belligerently, “What exactly is the point of this installation?”
I drew breath. He actually looked kind of angry.
“Well,” I said, “it is about the inventive potential of the human spirit. The artist has saved all her used paper coffee cups for years and she has drawn and painted on each one by hand. There must be almost 800 cups hanging in there. And each one is a different.”
“Oh!” He said, and stalked off, apparently satisfied.
The website for the art space says the artist would be sitting inside the prow through December 31, so I’m not sure if the live drawing element of the installation is still in progress or if this is the finished product. I kind of like not knowing. The stack of used cups not yet decorated beside a chair and a bunch of colored markers is a quiet reminder of the endless supply of disposable canvas we generate in this city, this country, this world…

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4 Responses to “Hypergraphia: The Cup Drawings”

  1. Gwyneth Leech Says:

    Delighted to be featured on Everydaytrash. Great website!
    Yes, I am still drawing in the Flatiron Prow, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am – 2pm, until February 18th. After that, I plan to continue in other venues. As you so eloquently observe, there is no end in sight to the supply of used paper cups I draw on!

  2. Leila Darabi Says:

    Excellent news! I’ll try to catch the action sometime soon.

  3. Mary Jane Wise Says:

    Gwyneth, I am so proud of you; you have also inspired me to put cup hangings inside my office (a retrieved closet for washer and dryer, with doors that open into kitchen). This will be my office, desk, chartreurse, chair white, both metal, black computer, white cubby for anything I will need in office, pens, papers, envelopes, etc., large black and white clock of white wall (cups will be mostly my color), gray lamp, white shade. I was inspired by your beautiful art, and can hardly start to draw and paint my paper cups…I cannot do as well as you artistically, but I will be making my office, my own. sincerely, mary.

  4. Leila Darabi Says:

    Sounds like an excellent decorating plan!

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