Cheeming Boey’s Artistic Journey with Styrofoam Cups and Sharpie Pens

by . January 23rd, 2015

Malaysian-born artist Cheeming Boey stumbled upon his success and gained his own spot in the international art scene after being recognized for his unusual choice of art medium. This California-based artist, animator, and writer is famous mainly for his disposable styrofoam coffee cup illustrations. He is also popular especially among his fellow Malaysians for his webcomic “I am Boey” and autobiographical novel entitled “When I Was A Kid.

Image via: Youtube

Boey accidentally discovered this form of art one day while sitting at a coffee shop. He was itching to jot down ideas but had no paper to draw on. So out of resourcefulness, he settles to the next best thing which is disposable styrofoam coffee cup and started writing and drawing onto it. The result was so beautiful, even Boey himself was surprised. After seeing some incredible results, he went on creating more pieces. From then on, he knew that he’s up to something great. Gradually, coffee cups started to mount on his shelf at work and got his colleagues’ attention.

















When friends asked him what he was planning to do with all the cups, he responded “Some of them are kinda nice, maybe I can sell it.” Lots of his friends we’re amazed but one of them just said “No ones gonna buy that crap.” He then accepted the challenge and eventually prove him/her wrong. From 20 cents, his coffee cup illustrations can now be purchased for $140 to $900 each on his etsy shop and his website.”Don’t tell someone who’s stubborn that no one’s going to buy your stuff,” he said.


One day Cheeming drove to Laguna Beach wounding up to the Marion Meyer Contemporary Art. Meyer—known to feature nationally known artists—saw the cups and personally liked them. Then she invited Boey to display his cups at the gallery during the monthly Art Walk. The pieces can be purchase for around $120 to $220 back then. Each succeeding month, Cheeming gained more exposure, attracted larger crowds, and drove more sales mainly because his art is unique and his stories connect with people.


 He was featured on Sharpie’s Start With Sharpie ad campaign. Sharpie’s webisode entitled “Sharpie presents: Coffee Cup to Canvas” which showcases Boey’s artistic journey and the role Sharpie played along the way, won them a 2012 TED as Worth Spreading award. Check out the inspiring video below.

[pullquote]”The difference between a dream and reality is just doing it. If you want to get something done or if you have a dream, don’t wait. Just go for it.”[/pullquote]

For more of his works, check out his website, Flicker and Behance. Get updates on his Facebook and Twitter. Also check out his “When I was a kid” book series. Also pay a visit to his webcomic “I am Boey” for some hilarious and entertaining comic illustrations depicting his everyday life.


Manila-based multimedia designer specializing in graphic design, illustration and photo manipulations. Fascinated with vector illustrations, minimalist designs, and clever advertising ideas. Always on the lookout for creative stuff serving as his daily dose of inspiration.