Foam Party: Baristart

The Front Row Fashion Flock Show Up in a NYC Coffee Whiz's Latte Portraits

To kick off New York fashion week madness, the highly photographed faces of industry legends and celebs—Anna, Karl, Marc and more—are rendered by Mike Breach, a 28
-year-old New York-based portraitist  whose medium is foam. Breach, a.k.a. Baristart, moonlights as an expert coffee dude at The Breslin Bar and Dining Room within the trendy Ace Hotel, where he has plenty of opportunities to practice his oeuvre shot here by Zachary Zavislak at Super Linda Latin Grill in Tribeca. Noticing that people were becoming bored with hearts and leaves in their lattes, Breach decided to apply his appreciation of art to his coffees. Some of his favorite portraits to date include “Leonardo di Cappuccino,” “Kurt Cobean,” and “Ziggy Starbucks.” Reactions to Breach’s work tend toward amused astonishment. Handed a latte with her face on it, Grace Jones was so impressed that she exchanged contact information with him. Whether Ms. Wintour and Mr. Lagerfeld will be so pleased remains to be seen, but latte art certainly seems the perfect medium to illustrate fashion’s cycle of invention and consumption. At the very least, it’s an entertaining way to caffeinate before racing to the next show. 

What constitutes the perfect latte?

Mike Breach:
There is a massive element of humor in what I do so the perfect latte to me makes me laugh.

What are the best (and worst) things about working with foam?

MB: The best and worst thing about working with foam is that it is very challenging.

What sort of image is most frequently ordered?

MB: Most people who happen to track me down want portraits of their pets.

What other medium would you most like to work in?

MB: I am very content with coffee as my medium because it makes people happy and blows their minds.

What's the choicest reaction you've gotten to a portrait?

MB: It was actually from a very simple teddy bear head design that I gave to a girl who was obviously very upset about something. She got choked up, smiled and hugged me. It’s great to me that something so simple can really make someone’s day. 

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