Malaysian artist and architect ‘Red’ Hong Yi creates incredible works of art with unconventional materials to form impressive portraits in both their technique and scale. For this portrait, ‘Red’ Hong Yi used 20,000 stained tea bags to make this composition featuring a “teh tarik man” which is a common scene from Malaysia. “Teh tarik” means “pulled-tea” in Malay, and it’s a sweet and milky drink served in local cafes. 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.
To make this work, Red Hong Yi 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 wire-mesh and hung from a wooden frame.