Masters of Food Art

Ransom Riggs

Our readers seem to love Andréa's art history column, Feel Art Again, and Allison's food column, Dietribes. So I figure, why not combine the two -- and write about food as art? I myself have been an amateur food artist since childhood; if ever I found myself confronted by a plate of food I couldn't finish, it was as if my fork had turned into a brush, the leftovers my palette. (Sometimes I would even title my masterworks, scribbling their names on paper napkins left nearby, hoping only that the errant waitress or parent would appreciate the ephemeral beauty of a snowpea-laced mound of sculpted potatoes before scraping it into the garbage disposal.) But the artists we're looking at today progressed far beyond my infantile capabilities -- building sets, lighting them, using models and carefully-placed macro-lensed cameras, to create larger-than-life food worlds the viewer can escape into, or surreal scenes featuring anthropomorphized apples and oranges. See for yourself!

British photographer Carl Warner specializes in creating foodscapes that are deceptive to the eye -- everything in them (and I mean everything) is edible. Obviously, the heads of broccoli above are just that -- broccoli -- but look at the background: those are clouds of cauliflower, the mountains are bread, the waterfall is granulated sugar being poured. The yellow dirt road is cumin powder, and the ladder in the foreground is made from vanilla pods.

Here's a fascinating interview with Carl in which he gives away a few of his secrets -- including how to make a realistic-looking sea- and sky-scape out of salmon!

one-small-step.jpg /
watermelon1.jpg /

Finally, author/photographer Saxton Freymann has made his living sculpting food, and publishing the results in a delightful series of children's books with titles like How Are You Peeling? Here are a few of our favorite Freymanns:

orangicide.jpg /