We like to think of food as the ultimate storyteller and every meal a work of art. But these 10 artists have taken the value of food as art to new heights. Some using food as a medium, others using food as subject matter, these contemporary artists are a bunch you'll want to follow, though probably not on an empty stomach.
—By Alissa Harb
A mosaic food artist, Jason Mecier creates stunningly accurate portraits from everyday items. Not the least of these includes breakfast cereal—Exhibit A: Jerry Seinfeld—and varied snack items from goldfish crackers to chocolate covered doughnuts—Exhibit B: Rosie O’Donnell. Also employing “junk” items like buttons and old makeup, Mecier’s portraits are vibrantly colored, and a must-see for pop culture fanatics and avid snackers alike.
For More on this Artist: Jason Mecier
Robin Antar sculpts stone into seemingly mundane, everyday objects, like condiment bottles, soda cans, and packages of Oreos. The shockingly life-like sculptures in Antar’s collection, appropriately dubbed Realism in Stone, aim to create a “virtual record” by creating permanent works of art, inspired by familiar items. Driven by questions like “Will a bottle of ketchup exist in 3012 AD?” and often taking up a to a year to perfect, Antar’s pieces leave onlookers wondering whether her pieces are edible—and have surely left a chipped tooth or two in their wake.
For More on this Artist: Robin Antar's Realism in Stone
Photographer Beth Galton explores both the commercial and conceptual realms of food styling and photography, contributing to campaigns for the likes of Campbell’s, Lay’s and Betty Crocker, but also producing stunning collections like Cut Food. The series showcases just that—food cut in half—and inspires that most magical question—how did they do that that? Also boasting photos that explore texture and motion in food, we must say...Galton’s gallery is a feast for the eyes.
For More on this Artist: Beth Galton
Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food, available in September 2013, is filled with photographs of real food, acting as backdrops for mini-dramas featuring tiny, tiny people. Each scene is accompanied by a delightfully cheeky caption. Boffoli’s Doughy Footsteps (pictured) is captioned, "Luc was finally learning to be the protagonist in his own life." As they say, the best food tells a story.
For More on this Artist: Big Appetites
Julie Lee, a food blogger out of Santa Monica, Calif., regularly showcases her local produce haul on Instagram (follow her @julieskitchen) in beautiful fashion—food collages, made entirely of foods from her garden or neighborhood farmers’ market. Lee refers to herself as a food-loving nerd, playing “left brain, right brain ping pong.” But we say—whatever kind of creative table tennis she’s hosting upstairs, it’s workin’.
For More on this Artist: Julie's Kitchen
Malaysian artist and architect Hong Yi, also known simply as “Red,” is celebrated for works created with unconventional media. Food falls among the ranks of her unorthodox art supplies. In March 2013, Red took to Instagram (@redhongyi) with her project 31 Days of Food Creativity, in which she offered to the masses one plate a day, each post a work of art, each work made entirely of food.
For More on this Artist: Red Hong Yi
Caitlin Freeman, pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee (the self-taught kind, we might add), showcases her pastry arts in the cafe at San Fransisco's Museum of Modern Art, and now in her cookbook Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art. The pages are lined with insanely impressive recipes for confections like the Mondrian Cake (original art pictured far left), plus bonus tidbits including (mercifully) accessible pastry how-to’s from Caitlin, like how to temper chocolate or work with buttercream.
For More on this Artist: Modern Art Desserts
Russian graphic designer and brand developer Andrew Gorkovenko is the multi-talented mastermind behind concepts such as TripTea, a line of exotic teas, the packaging for which includes an illustration for each country of origin—composed entirely of tea leaves. Each country’s unique scene is depicted with its own indigenous tea leaves, and composed by Andrew himself.
For More on this Artist: Andrew Gorkovenko
Amelia Harnas works to harness what many of us fear, even loathe—red wine stains—and turns them into lovely, wonderfully ethereal portraits. Though Amelia has recently begun exploring wood kindling as her newest medium of choice (still employing red wine), reproductions of many of her earlier wine stains on fabric are available for purchase on Society6.
For More on this Artist: Truly Amelia
Though not strictly a food photographer, Alison Anselot is responsible for a series of stunningly composed food shots, digitally (and perfectly) matched to Pantone colors. This collection makes for an inspirational reminder of the endless catalog of hues available to us each time we visit the farmers’ market or neighborhood grocery. To see more of the series, visit Anselot’s online gallery.
For More on this Artist: Alison Anselot Photography
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