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Art 2.0: Coffee Art is the Latest Reason to Carry a Digital Camera/Phone

February 22, 2013

It used to be that art was self-conscious. It was created by artists, supported by patrons and hung on various walls to be admired. Or it might take pride of place in a city square or a church. But traditional art is so old-fashioned and so Art 1.0! Just like Web 2.0 has turned anyone with access to a blog into a publisher (feel the power!) so Art 2.0 is allowing anyone to be an artist. I don’t know what the art professors would classify as Art 2.0, but I’m going to use the old catchphrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and paraphrase it as “art is whatever people think it is”. So Art 2.0 is everywhere and if people love that picture of the dogs playing poker when it’s pinned on Pinterest, then hey, that’s Art 2.0 as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, when a term that is as cool as “Art 2.0” is coined, there are going to be competing visions of what it is. Go to the Financialist (, for instance, and Art 2.0 is being used as a kind of e-commerce for art.

“It appears that the next wave of Internet speculation has found its target. It’s been dubbed Art 2.0 and it’s generating buzz everywhere from Silicon Valley to Soho galleries to art-buying sites like, Paddle8 and ArtSpace. These sites promise to revolutionize the way art is discovered, viewed, and—most importantly—sold.”

I’m actually a few years late in coining the term Art 2.0. In 2009 ( posed the following questions about Art 2.0:

– Is it a new way of saying digital arts?
– Is it some sort of a tool, a method in order to strengthen the relation between art and ITC?
– Is it an abbreviation of something?
– Is it a new version of art with particular aims and objectives such as dialogue, development, freedom, peace, etc?
– Is it describing the current facility in making art that ensures interactivity with the public through today’s technology?
– Is it related to the term Web 2.0?
– Is it the name of a coming era of art?
– Is it describing the tools and methods that make it easy to create a work of art?

Here is my definition of Art 2.0:

“Art 2.0 is the democratization of art where a work of digital art can be created by anyone, and where the term ‘art’ is not assigned based on the role of the artist, nor by art critics, but rather by general acclamation by a critical mass of people.”

Perhaps we can go further and define “Intrinsic Art 2.0” where something is a work of art according to some universal standard. Perhaps this is the art critics view of Art 2.0. And then there is “Extrinsic Art 2.0”, exemplified in my initial definition by the designation of art is an appellation bestowed by the Internet masses.

So where are we likely to find Web 2.0 art? Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and Facebook of course. So many pictures, and many of them are no doubt works of art in their own way. In some cases the art may come from the photographer, choosing just the right angles and lighting, etc. In other cases the art may be inherent in the object, and the scene, and the photographer is simply capturing and recording that work for posterity. Digital capture now allows so much that is artistic, but ephemeral, to be preserved and posted as Art 2.0.

Let’s take as an example of Art 2.0 the wonderful and surprising domain of coffee art. Surprising to me at least. Growing up in a world prior to Starbucks, colour television was a big surprise, and coffee art wasn’t even on the radar. As a teenager I would have expected us to land on Mars sooner than create art in cups of coffee. But here we are, and I claim that the following images of cups of coffee are excellent examples of Art 2.0.

The first one is Disney yes, but considering that it is in a cup of coffee, I say that it is art.


Is this one Jimi Hendrix without the afro or someone else? I’m not sure, but I think it’s art. The facial expression has been handled beautiful. A Mona Lisa in a coffee cup!


This one is a bit strange, but no stranger than “The Scream” I suppose.


Maybe the aesthetics of the next one depends on your politics. Can you imagine Nixon in a cup of coffee?


The next one looks like one of Miyazaki’s anime girls. Kiki perhaps? Art to some, that’s for sure.


Not everyone might think that this rabbit is art, but enough people think it’s art, than I say that it is. I’m still waiting to find the Barrista who can do the dogs playing poker in a coffee cup!


and here’s our final art work. Some kind of elfin scaramouche perhaps.


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