It’s good to be reminded that it’s okay not to take yourself or your work too seriously. That’s what Mike Breach, coffee artist and “expressionist” is helping to do. Breach is a barista at Smile To-Go, and he’s become a master at foam art. Using milk, espresso, and foam as his medium, Breach has created images of the NYC skyline, Beyoncé, Edward Scissorhands and more—all on the top of a latte made for a customer.
“The whole thing kind of is a joke because they dissipate after a while, because it’s going to be gone in like three minutes,” he says. “I kind of want to be like Willy Wonka with coffee. You know, make it something interesting and fun for people, take the pretentiousness out of it, take the seriousness out of it.”
It seems like a lot of work for a drink that’ll soon be gone, but Breach doesn’t really mind. He first taught himself how to create the art when he worked in the back of a hotel and had hours to himself with an espresso machine. He surprised even himself when he discovered he could make faces in the drinks.
“This doesn’t last forever and I think that’s what makes it special,” he says, adding, “That’s what makes it something more personal to me, because it’s like I’ve actually just painted it for that person to see. I didn’t really do it for myself, to have it hanging in my apartment or whatever… it’s purely for them. It’s personal.”
Breach has a Tumblr blog called Baristart, where he posts pictures of his creations—which include portraits of the rich and famous, of individual customers, of teddy bears, of the NYC skyline and more.