Coffee art!

I was having a coffee in Starbucks today, and it occurred to me — what the heck is up with their logo?

I mean, a mermaid? That’s not really an image I associate with a fine cup of dark-roast coffee. When I think about mermaids, I think about lots of things: The enormous, briny deep; creepy little Graeco-Roman body-loathing ideas about women; maybe those chicks in mermaid suits in the otherwise totally forgettable movie Analyze This. But you know, mythological creatures that evoke seaweed tend not to suggest a superior caffeinated-beverage experience. I know that the name “Starbucks” references the guy in Moby Dick who loved coffee, but, you know, isn’t that a bit of a stretch?

So in this spirit, I direct your attention to the latest work of my friend, the artist El Rey. On his web site, he’s just posted some images of this latest coffee-related work: A set of paintings called “Urban Apparition”, one of which is printed above. They’re super-inexpensive pieces of art, only 20 bucks a pop.

More importantly, I think they’re a far better logo for Starbucks than their current one. A radiant cup of coffee floating over an urban landscape! How much better can you get? I’m going to email Starbucks now and tell them to pay El Rey, like, $87 million for the rights to his image, so they can use it as a new corporate logo. You can email the company yourself using this form if you agree.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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