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Artist Creates Awe-Inspiring Portrait with 20,000 Teabags

Shanghai-based artist ‘Red’ Hong Yi has made a name for herself in the art world by creating larger-than-life portraits of celebrities using unconventional materials. For her latest masterpiece Red used 20,000 teabags to depict a tea maker practicing his trade.

To create the incredibly complex portrait, Hong Yi stained the tea bags individually by steeping them in hot water, to create 10 different shades of brown. Hong managed to achieve this level of color variation by changing the boiling temperature for every teabag and the amount of water used. For the really dark tones, she used food dyes. Once the tea bags were ready, she carefully arranged them to form the portrait, then stapled and attached them to wiremesh before hanging them from a wooden frame.

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From afar, the art piece looks like a portrait of a man pouring tea in shades of brown, while a close-up look reveals the brilliant arrangement of tea bags. Hong Yi spent two months creating the portrait in Melbourne. The piece was later freighted to Davos, where it was on display during ‘Malaysia Night’ at the World Economic Forum.

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Ever since we featured her incredible portrait of NBA star Yao Ming painted with a basketball, ‘Red’ Hong Yi has been a constant presence on Oddity Central. Some of the works we’ve covered in the last three years include Taiwanese singer Jay Chou depicted with thousands of coffee stains, a portrait  of Chinese director Yimou Zhang made with socks, and superstar football players Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi painted with a football.

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