From Food to Art

A few weeks ago a mom asked me what to do with a child who had arrived at that stage where if it didn’t look “right,” she didn’t want to draw. Her daughter’s frustration wasn’t about choosing between art and soccer or reading or something else—she clearly wanted to create, but was getting stuck in the mechanics. I personally don’t feel like I can draw either (no matter how much I wish I could still grow up to be an artist), so I could sympathize.

This particular mom has made a habit of encouraging her children to sit down at the table and draw while she finished making dinner. This got me thinking . . . what if dinner and the art-making could be combined? One of my favorite picture books that never ceases to put a smile on my face is How Are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. They take regular fruits and vegetables (and some that you may never convince your child to eat) and turn them into characters with recognizable emotions.

Silly kiwis by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

How can you resist?

Broccoli dog by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Freymann and Elffers clearly see shapes and texture and character rather than “just dinner” and have several books that turn food into vehicles, dogs, and even underwater creatures.

A quick search on the internet turned up more artists who cleverly play with their food.

Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle use food more as the landscape and pose teeny tiny figures in their fantastical worlds.

These hard-working painters were created by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle.

Carl Warner takes days to create lavish foodscapes that he then photographs in layers.

Foodscape by Carl Warner

Why not try this yourself? Collect a random assortment of fruits and veggies, a sharp knife, and let your kids play with their food (but of course, supervise the knife). So that they can eat their creations later, use peanut butter or cream cheese as the glue. Black-eyed peas, raisin, seeds and nuts work well as eyes. Photograph the creations, then dig in.

Posted by: Leah

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Just for Fun, PreK

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