The Art of Derek Glaskin

The Art of Derek Glaskin

7-Eleven Coffee Cups Made Into Clever Creations

Edna Ching | August 17 , 2020


Derek Glaskin moved from Australia to Kauai over thirty years ago, bringing his love for art along with him. He is an established Aboriginal Australian artist whose inspiration derives from his observations of “past and present cultural appreciations and vocations”. He visually documents events using a wide range of mediums, such as all-natural pigments and dyes to high gloss latex enamels and sometimes even objects that he unexpectedly finds.

While coping with the recent pandemic, Derek looked to bring solace to others amid a very uncertain future. Since the lockdown, he had been visiting his favorite 7-Eleven store in Lihue every day to delight in a cup of freshly brewed coffee. After a multitude of purchases, Derek pondered over all the cups he had collected, concluding that they represent a broader community. “After enjoying my daily coffee and collecting all those cups, I thought to myself - Derek there are thousands of these out there, kinda representing thousands of us. This meant something deep to me.”

This realization inspired him to create the 7-Eleven Café Art Dolls. Derek thought, what if he was 7-Eleven Hawaii and he could do anything he wanted with them – what would he do? With a passion for Art and Marketing, he saw these unassuming empty cups as his blank canvas. He repurposed them into a “cosmopolynesian” style of art – a term he coined to describe the indigenous and environmental influences in his work. Upon completing the dolls, he received immediate feedback from kids to professionals. He comments, “seeing something so common like ordinary paper coffee cups deliberately created into something to look so absolutely darn, charming and clever is what all people really enjoy.”

Aside from the 7-Eleven Café Art Dolls, Derek has been busy teaching. He just finished his contract as an art teacher at Island School. Derek says, “When teaching art, it’s really delightful when [the] students [apply] my A.B.Cs to their own creative signature.” Derek has also been busy working on various personal projects. His current focus is “a series of Hawaii product design paintings and signature images”. Follow him on Facebook (@australianhawaiianartist) to track his progress and peruse through his past art projects. You can also connect with him via email,