Kat Goduco

5 Things That Happen When Art And Tea Come Together

On a Friday in early December, people gathered in a sunny Miami space to celebrate the amazing things that can happen when art and tea come together.

Bustle and Teavana's event, The Art Of Flavor, celebrated this unexpected duo through tea tastings, food pairings, custom DJ sets, and more.

At the heart of the event was a striking art installation by renowned artists Nico, Fiorella Podestá, and Nicole Salgar of The Bushwick Collective. In the weeks prior, the three women collaborated on a one-of-a-kind work that was inspired by the colors, flavors, and ingredients of Teavana tea.

Guests at the event only got a glimpse of the artistic process — they saw the artists putting the finishing touches on their piece, and got to enjoy a final product that didn't include the weeks of planning and relentless work that went into it.

Prior to the event, we chatted with the artists about their process, their experience working together, and why you can't ever control how people interpret your art.

And when it comes to the work, the event was far from the end of its story — the piece has since been donated to Coral Park Elementary School in Miami, where it will be displayed for years to come.

So what actually happens when you bring together two things as seemingly different as art and tea?

Here's what we learned.

1. Everyone Can Channel Their Inner Artist — With A Little Prompting

One of the most interactive aspects of the event was a large wall that acted as a vehicle for guests to show their creativity. Sketched on the wall was an outline that included all of the delicious ingredients and flavors that make up Teavana teas.

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At the start of the event, guests were hesitant to approach the wall. Choruses of "oh, I don't know how to paint," and "I don't have an artistic bone in my body" rang out across the open-air space.

But once one brave person raised her marker to the wall, the domino effect began. From then on, guests lined up, patiently yet eagerly awaiting the chance to add their own unique flair.

Kat Goduco
Kat Goduco

The wall was a true representation of what can happen when individuals from all walks of life come together to get inspired and express their creativity.

2. Creative Collaborations Can Be Wonderfully Unpredictable

After The Art of Flavor concluded, we caught up with the artists to discuss how the process of collaborative art differs from solo painting, and one common thread kept coming up: creating a piece in conjunction with other artists makes for an exciting, albeit unpredictable experience.

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"I realized that the piece was constantly changing — in a fluid way — and adapting itself in each step," says Podestá. "I [ended up] integrating some different colors that I had not contemplated using at the beginning in order to add balance with the other elements. And I liked it even better that way!"

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When it came to how the piece turned out, Nico agreed.

"I think [my element of] the piece fit perfectly with the other two styles that it was surrounded by," she says. "The finalized piece was a great representation of Teavana's brand and the idea of combining different and unique things to make something beautiful."

3. Tea + Apps = The New Wine + Cheese

One of the event's most delicious elements was the expert pairing of appetizers with tea flavors.

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After guests received a customized tea recommendation, they were able to pair it with an artfully presented bite that perfectly played off the unique flavors of the tea.

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4. Live Art Breaks Down The Boundary Between Creator & Spectator In A Beautiful Way

The most magnetic part of the event was undoubtedly the live art that Nico, Podestá, and Salgar created. Upon entering the space, guests were immediately drawn to the artists in action, gathering to witness them finalizing their piece in real time.

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When it comes to painting live with an audience, Nico has no qualms: "It’s great to paint live and to see how viewers experience and enjoy it."

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For Podestá, the painting experience is different every time.

"I love to paint live as much as in my studio," she tells us. "It all depends on the circumstances, the surroundings, and the comforts that exist [to allow me to] paint in the most natural and effective way possible."

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The live art format provided an open line of communication between the artists and the guests, allowing the event to push the traditional boundary that exists between artist and spectator.

"I remember [a guest who] approached me at the end of the event," Podestá recalls, with commentary on his approach. "He told me that he noticed and liked how I applied many layers of paint to my work during the time I was painting to define the shapes."

5. Tea And Art Are More Similar Than They Are Different

One underlying theme tying all the aspects of the event together was the realization that tea and art have more in common than not.

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Whether we're talking about the process of creating, the layers of complexity, or the general visual aesthetic, works of art and cups of tea are cut from the same cloth.

Perhaps it's because both art and tea, despite the painstaking processes required of them, are mostly seen by the world in their final form: complete, complex, and uniquely beautiful.

Kat Goduco

This post is sponsored by Teavana.