Category Archives: Cups

Meet… Cheeming Boey

Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment. Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment.

” The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology.”

It’s a product we see every day. The styrofoam cup.  Parties, barbecues and picnics are all places we use them and then we just…throw them away. But not 31-year-old artist and animator, Cheeming Boey of Newport Beach, California; he creates art. Armed with a black Sharpie ball-point pen, Boey draws images on cups that include intricate waves, birds and scenes of his life from Malaysia to Orange County.

Q: Tell me a little about your business.
Boey: I draw on styrofoam coffee cups.

 Q: How are Sharpie markers incorporated?

 Boey: They are primarily what I use to draw on my cups now. I only use one fine point sharpie for all my line works. I know there’re several sizes, but part of the challenge I want to tackle is achieving different strokes with one pen.

 Q: What benefit do you think this offers and to who?

 Boey: People tend to think that drawings and paintings are always on canvases or paper. I would like others to see that anything can be used as a canvas. You must have tried drawing with fries using ketchup, right? Why can’t that be serious art? It’s not what you draw on all the time; it’s the idea on it, or behind it. If the KFC recipe was sold on a napkin for a million bucks, I don’t think people are gonna say, “Nah, I don’t want it…it’s on a napkin.”

Equipped with his Sharpie marker.

Equipped with his Sharpie marker.


 The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology. Yet it is often overlooked, and when it ever brings attention, it stands for everything negative.

I believe there’s beauty in everything, including what we consider imperfect. I embrace the fact that it isn’t perfect. Sort of like the Wabi-Sabi movement in Japan.

 The fact that it is “cheap” and “disposable” makes it an unlikely subject for anything “special”. But it is that reason that I decided to draw on them. It also keeps one cup off the streets, if people are worried about Styrofoam waste.

 Q: Why are Sharpie markers a good fit for this? 

 Boey: Like how anything can be a canvas, I believe anything could be a tool as well.People are always surprised when I tell them I drew with a sharpie. A lot of them think it is liquid acrylics, or other fancy pens. “No, it’s with a sharpie.”The sharpie has a nice tip and it has a good consistent ink flow. It is also cheap. And cheap doesn’t mean bad.

 Q:  Tell us about some of your favorite designs.  Why do they resonate with you?

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of

 Boey: I like the ones that are more personal, like a dining experience with a friend over sake and stories. I also like waves; hence a lot of my cups have a spaghetti-like, wave motif to it. One of my favorite Japanese artists who has influenced me heavily is Hokusai, and I think a lot about how he draws his waves when I draw mine.

 Q: What is the longest amount of time you have spent on one cup?

Boey: 3 months. I don’t do initial drafts on the cups, so what you see is on the final product is the first pass. It takes forever to work on an elaborate piece because my next line could completely ruin the composition. Or I get nervous about drawing certain shapes. Or poses.

So sometimes I take hours to figure out the composition in my head, sometimes I don’t come back to it for months.

 I have to also make sure the foam cups are absolutely lint/ hair free. They charge up easily and tiny hairs or lint can stick to it. And when the fine point on the sharpie catches one of these hairs, a thin line can suddenly become a broad stroke. Terrible.

His cups sell for hundreds.

His cups sell for hundreds

Q:Do you think you’ll expand the idea to other items?

Boey: Sure. Anything is possible right?

Q: Anything else you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

 Boey:I could use some free sharpies. I go thru about 1 every 2 days.

Here is a video of how he works…

And the cup…

finished cup 

View more of Cheeming Boey’s art




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Two words…thank you.



I have been wanting to do a post about MJ for a while now. With all of the mayhem about him in the media, I wanted to switch gears and reflect on him as a personal inspiration by doing the one thing I love, write. Thanks to Sharpie, I can attempt to reach the world like he did . So, here goes…a poem I wrote in dedication to Michael Jackson…

I’m not thanking you for your music

Although it was the best

I’m not thanking you for your work as a humanitarian

Because you serve as an example to the rest

Thank you for the inspiration

As you showed all the time

The endless


Unstoppable capabilities

Of a creative mind

Because of people like you

I am able to write this post

Representing a company such as Sharpie

Doing things many could never


Being in this atmosphere

Fostering my voice and joining with a team

This is merely the start of my dreams

But because of you


Civil rights


You endured all the abuses

Few are given such a special gift

With yours you made the world spin

If I could touch one life with my words

As you did with your music

I will always…



-Sharpie Steph


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