Food art, not to be confused with the culinary arts, requires the use of food as the main component of an artistic creation. Over the years, this unique form of expression has proven an ever-expanding enterprise, incorporating candy, vegetables and fruits in various colors, shapes and sizes.
Including everything from Larry Kingâ€™s likeness done with Jelly Belly beans to a recreation of Van Goghâ€™s self-portrait using leeks, the artwork below is sure to whet your appetiteâ€”for art, dinner or maybe even both.
Rendered in canned goods
The structure above, created in 2005 by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects LLP, is made from 5,000 cans of sliced bamboo shoots and stuffed vine leaves. Itâ€™s one of several works to come out of Canstructionâ€”a trademark charity event and design/build competition under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration. The challenge? To build large structures made of unopened food cans, which are later donated to city-registered food banks.
President Barack Obama
Rendered in cereal
This mosaic of President Barack Obama, created by Hank Willis Thomas and Ryan Alexiev of CerealArt.com, showcases a slew of sugary cereals including Honeycomb, Life and Froot Loops. The company, which is inspired by 3D visual art and consumer culture, wanted to make a commentary about the presidentâ€™s iconic and commercial appeal, much in line with Thomasâ€™ other work, which typically deals with the complex issues of race, identity, class and history in the age of consumerism.
â€œSelf-Portrait with Grey Felt Hatâ€
Rendered in leeks
The above artwork, inspired by one of Vincent van Goghâ€™s many self-portraits, was displayed at the Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery from November 23, 2008 to January 22, 2009 as part of Chinese artist Ju Duoqiâ€™s exhibit titled The Vegetable Museum. In the series, Duoqi recreates Western masterpieces using common Chinese cuisine ingredientsâ€”including tofu, cabbage, ginger, lotus roots, coriander and sweet potatoâ€”then photographs them for gallery and museum showings.
Rendered in bread and cheese
Created by London-based photographer Carl Warner, this food-scape is one of many images in a series that features foodie creations, such as pea pod boats, strawberry hot air balloons, salmon seas and Parmesan cliffs. Once designed, the setting is photographed and touched up to create original photographic works of art. In the picture above, loaves of bread were used to depict mountains among a cove of sliced-bread cobblestones and cheese boulders.
Rendered in Jelly Belly jelly beans
Displayed in The Jelly Belly Museum of Bean Art, the above mosaic of Larry King was created by Peter Rochaâ€”who passed away in 2004. For each of his mosaics, Rocha placed the candy pieces on a layer of varnish, allowed it to dry and then covered the beans with more varnishâ€”thus preventing bugs from appreciating his masterwork in a more literal way. This particular portrait uses around 10,000 jelly beans in a variety of flavors, including blueberry, which was used for the suspenders.
â€œGold Marilyn Monroeâ€
Rendered in NestlÃ© Smarties
This candy-filled creation, replicating one of Andy Warholâ€™s most famous silkscreen paintings, is made with a sugar-coated chocolate candy that is primarily sold throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. The work, created by photo artist Prudence Emma Staite of FoodIsArt.co.uk, was part of the Smartie Art Exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London. The exhibit marked the relaunch of the blue Smartie, which was used for Monroeâ€™s eyeshadow in this work of art.
Rendered in toasted bread
This 14.5 x 16.5-inch mosaic by Ingrid Falk and Gustavo Aguerre was made entirely of toastâ€”specifically, 3,053 slices with varying degrees of toastedness, including shades of white, beige, tan, ochre, rust and black. The two artists are known for using bread and food as a recurring theme in their artwork. This piece, which took several days of toastingâ€”and the use of multiple friendsâ€™ toastersâ€”to complete, was displayed at the Galleria Milano in Milan, Italy, in October and November 1999.
Rendered in chocolate
Since 1989, food artist Jean Zaun has been crafting paintings composed entirely of chocolate, food color, edible gold sugars and confectionery glaze. Above is his rendition of Leonardo da Vinciâ€™s famous portrait, which is painted on a white chocolate â€œcanvasâ€ base, bordered with a dark chocolate frame and finished with a confectionery glaze. Would make a very nice chocolate gift.
Rendered in cake and biscuits
In spring 2008, a different kind of European art exhibit was unveiled for the launch of BBCâ€™s on-demand TV service. For the event, they asked artist Prudence Emma Staite, founder of FoodIsArt.co.uk, to depict legendary British TV characters or shows in â€œpaintingsâ€ made of food. Above is a portrait of Anne Robinson, most famous for her role as the host of The Weakest Link , crafted from cake and biscuits.
Rendered in M&Mâ€™s
Crafted out of more than 1,000 M&Mâ€™s, including rare pale blue and white varieties, this 40 x 30-inch portrait of the Detroit rapper weighs in at eight pounds and was made by candy artist Enrique Ramos. The photo, bought by Ripleyâ€™s Believe It or Not!, is now on display at their Gallery of Unusual Art in Gatlinburg, Tennesseeâ€”hanging amongst a befitting collection of artwork that includes a portrait of Princess Diana made of lint and a portrait of Michael Jackson rendered in gumballs.