Don’t mess with your food. Create ART out of it!
28 November 2010
As part of my series of workshops last week, (on the theme of recycling and using alternative materials in art), I worked with a group of 26 children to create ‘Food Art’. My assistant artists were all aged 10 and 11 and were wonderfully enthusiastic and engaged throughout. I have worked with this particular group many times before and so wanted to find something completely different for them to do. Inspiration came from the Colorado based, ‘food artist’ Jason Baalman. His portait of Rachel Ray made me want to find out more about him and share his work with the children, and when I found the video of him creating Conan O’Brian out of cheese puffs, I knew I was onto an idea they would love. Every child was asked to bring in something to contribute to the materials pool. We had a huge array of random things to work with from cereals and pulses to fruit and vegetables to tubes of tomato paste.
Using alternative materials helped no end with helping the children understand their use of colour. Their first task was to create a portrait. A simple character, which could be a full body, or just a face. A problem I often encounter when teaching this age group is that when I give them a palette of paints, they often will just jump straight in with the ’skin tones’ and paint away without giving any thought to which actual ’skin tone’ they might really need to be using. By taking away all ‘paint’ and providing them instead with a palette of objects, they had to really think about what they were going to create, what objects would provide the colour they actually wanted to represent. It was an extreme way of proving a point. But it worked!
After the initial set task, the children were given free rein to create whatever they liked. The results ranged from an amazing African plain scene to a Bart Simpson complete with skateboard. For once, his catch phrase ‘eat my shorts’ really could have applied, given that they were made out of broccoli….