The Fascinating World of Food Art
The history of food art is long and delicious. Many credit painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo — who made stunning, surrealist portraits out of fruits and vegetables — for founding the genre, but its history reaches far beyond the Renaissance. In fact, people have been getting creative with food art for almost as long as humans have been eating it.
Ancient Egyptians depicted popular foods, feasts, and crops in their paintings. Even cave painters in the Stone Age made art depicting their hunts using animal fats or plant juices as paints.
Lately, food art has been growing in popularity. Talented snack-lovers are killin’ it with kiwis, rocking it with rutabagas, and breaking the internet with bananas. There’s so much out there, from wild ketchup portraits to intricate egg sculptures, it’s almost overwhelming.
Here are 10 artists making elaborate works of art out of foods that are sure to blow your mind — or whet your appetite.
Tisha Cherry is known for her fantastic Oreo art. (And who doesn’t love a visual masterpiece on a cookie?) Her vanilla Oreo decorated with the cover of the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go is childhood. But Cherry isn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone, either. She also does intricate food art portraits of celebrities like Jimi Hendrix, Beyonce, and Bill Murray, using a range of ingredients, like fruit, grains, ice cream, and sprinkles.
Jason Mecier doesn’t always stick to food for his work. He’s used everything from boxes of Pepto-Bismol to Barbie dolls in his pieces, but his edible food art is especially unforgettable. He creates vibrant celebrity portraits out of legumes, jellybeans, pasta, fries, and other inventive ingredients. Each portrait is colorful and unique, made with incredible attention to detail, and it’s not at all difficult to guess the celebrities he’s recreating.
Based in both Buenos Aires and New York City, Anna Keville Joyce has a way with food. Her portraits of animals and serene sceneries on dishware are uniquely peaceful and satisfying. Her clean and vibrant style is distinct in each portrait, and she styles everything from slices of kiwis to grains of rice in just the right positions to create intricate compositions that almost look like optical illusions.
Lee Kang-bin is the owner of a cafe in Korea called C Through, where he creates just one coffee masterpiece a day for one lucky customer. And boy, is it a good cup of coffee. There’s a lot of beautiful coffee art these days, but Lee Kang-bin’s work with colors and his attention to detail is too great to ignore. From Edgar Degas to The Little Mermaid, his reproductions are almost as great as the caffeinated drinks themselves.
Amelia Fais Harnas creates stunning portraits with only wine and fabric, capturing her subjects in warm, red and pink hues. Beyond providing the world with beautiful images, her food art indirectly inspires viewers to shake off their remorse the next time they spill red wine on their white shirts.
Diego Cusano has a way of melding food and illustrations together to create wild, semi-edible worlds. His food art includes snails with ice cream shells, women that wear potato chip skirts, and characters with hair made of pasta. The results are beautiful and look delicious.
Recently in the food art world, artists have taken to carving intricate designs and patterns into the meat of avocados and turning them into decorative works that look almost too good to eat. One artist leading the pack is Japan’s Gaku, who doesn’t stop at avocados, but is a genius with cantaloupes, dragon fruits, bananas, broccoli, and more. Gaku could probably even get kids get excited about vegetables, that’s how good he is.
While we applaud artists that explore using many different mediums, it’s incredible when they perfect their art using just one tasty treat. Netherlands native Stephan Brusche does amazing work with bananas. He’s transformed the tubular yellow fruit into a unicorn, a squirrel, and Vincent Van Gogh. He’s even etched “The Last Supper” into a banana peel, a very meta approach to the concept of food art.
There is nothing more entrancing than Polish-born Maciek Jasik’s smoky food art. His work portrays whole fruits and vegetables cut open to reveal, not juice, but a colorful mist escaping from within. The way he captures the cascading smoke is both magical and mystical, giving the food an other-worldly, dreamy look.
Michele Baldini is a Mexico-based artist who creates egg-celent works of art using a frying pan and, well, eggs. Since 2017, the artist has been posting their inventive designs on Instagram, splitting apart eggs from their yolks to recreate everything from a map of the U.S. to a spiderweb to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Given that their works include not only cooking the egg, but shaping it, we can only imagine how long it takes to make them.