Artist-architect ‘Red’ Hong Yi creates stunning works of art without the help of a pencil or paintbrush. Instead, she uses unconventional materials to form larger-than-life portraits that are impressive in both their technique and scale. 20,000 stained tea bags make up her most recent composition featuring a “teh tarik man,” which is a common scene in her native Malaysia. “Teh tarik” means “pulled-tea” in Malay, and it’s a sweet and milky drink served in local cafes that becomes frothy when poured between two containers. The piece depicts a man performing this routine as well as cans and a shaved ice machine that are usually found in these places, too.
As you might imagine, creating this scene was no small feat. Red individually stained the teabags in 10 different shades by steeping them in hot water. Their color varies by the temperature and amount of water used, while the darker tones were made with food dye. The tea bags were then stapled and attached to wiremesh and hung from a wooden frame.