Art is whatever you want it to be. It’s always up for interpretation, and that's the beauty of it. Anything can be used to create some amazing works of art, and food is no exception. There are food artists who use meals to tell a story, convey emotion, and entertain. Chefs are actually artists in their own right if you think about it. They take basic ingredients, use techniques they've mastered, and put together meals that taste downright heavenly. Yes, chefs are food artists, but this article will focus on another group of art creators who use food as their medium.
Food is such an important part of our lives and culture, it’s no surprise it found a space in the art world. It's always been much more than a source of nourishment. According to an article published on the Smithsonian Museum’s blog, cave painters from the Stone Age used vegetable juice and animal fats as binding ingredients in their paints, Egyptians carved pictographs of crops and bread on tablets, and painters during the Renaissance period would paint portraits composed of food.
Food art has evolved over the ages to include common installations such as chocolate fountains and ice sculptures. The creations on this list are the work of people who decided to combine their love of visually appealing images with their appreciation for food. These pieces are intricate, and some even defy logic. Chances are, if you were presented with one of these dishes as a meal, you’d take a more than a few photos just so you could remember what they looked like.
20 Disney Princess Pie Art
Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin is a pie art master. She's a baker who makes some of the most beautiful desserts you'll ever lay your eyes on. Her work includes pies carved in the image of movie characters, plants, and popular culture. She created a set of pies to honor and celebrate some iconic Disney princesses. The pie featured here is from this collection. She made pies bearing the resemblance of Mulan, Jasmine, Ariel, Tiana, Belle, and Merida. If you're interested in seeing how she creates her masterpieces, you can view this video. She's very open to sharing her techniques with the world and has a variety of pie tutorials on her blog.
19 Galaxy Doughnuts
You may never be able to go into outer space, but don’t worry; these doughnuts can take you close enough. They're the work of Sam Melbourne, a vegan chef and baker. She fashioned these delights using deep blue and purple frosting and glitter. Sam begins the donut-making process by making donuts with vegan-friendly ingredients such as soy milk, raw cane sugar, flaxseed, and vegan margarine. The frosting is actually made from melted coconut oil, soy milk, powdered sugar, and vegan natural food dye. The finished products are dusted with edible vegan glitter. For a list of ingredients and a tutorial, you can visit her Instagram account @sobeautifullyreal.
18 Edible Jelly City
Liz Hickock recreates historical landmarks using Jell-O. The vibrant colors and intricate detail are a marvel to behold. For example, this jelly replica of San Francisco city square is beyond masterful. Hickock says she's always been interested in architecture scale models and photography. Liz is an accomplished artist whose work has been featured in countless exhibitions in the US and abroad. She says that the fragility of the JellO represents “the transitory nature of human artifacts.” She makes her landscapes with wood or foam core models; then, she coats them in silicone molds. She creates specific pieces with a certain movement, taste, and smell in mind.
17 Artistic Lollipops
If you like lollipops and works of art, you should visit LIQ NYC at their Etsy shop. It's a confectionary shop that sells handmade lollipops. The sweet treats feature images of nature, paintings, the cosmos, and inspirations from popular culture. Some of the flavors of candy they create are cherry and cotton candy. Some of the lollipops are made with simple ingredients such as cane sugar, filtered water, cream, and salt. The candies are the work of Naressa LaRosa, who's an artist and decided to add some of her work on sweets. She spent nights experimenting with different designs and ingredients. After much trial and error, she perfected her craft and started selling to the public.
16 3D Jelly Cakes
These 3D jelly cakes are the works of Siew Heng Boon, who's an artist and a baker. The cakes look like snow globes or paperweights with a gelatin cover. Each piece can take up to four hours to make, but Siew finds calm and happiness in creating these culinary wonders. The cakes are created upside down. The flowers are made by heating colored gelatin or seaweed powder and drawing designs on a blank canvas, which is the clear jelly. Next, the base is made, and the cake is and flipped upright once everything has cooled. Some of the flavors in the cakes are lychee, rose, peach, and coconut.
Carl Warner has been making food art since 1998. He creates the most breathtaking scenery using common food items. The series featuring his work is entitled "foodscapes." The image displayed here is of “Food World Town.” He gives each of his pieces a unique name befitting their appearance. Carl says that he started making his art in his studio in London. He starts a piece by first making a sketch, then spending two to three days in the company of food stylists and model makers who help him bring the drawings to life. He says he spends a lot of time selecting organic materials in grocery stores. When making his grocery purchases, he focuses on shape, texture, and color.
14 Nature-Inspired Cakes
Leslie Vigil specializes in delectable desserts that entice you with their floral designs. Some of her pieces require a double take due to the fact that they look like actual flower pots. She designs the flowers using buttercream. She's a seasoned baker who studied at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and now works in a bakery, Tasteful Cakes in California. She also has a very large social media following where people view her handiworks. Leslie takes inspiration from nature and sometimes takes long walks in botanical gardens to visualize her next creation. If you're ever in Corona, California, visit her bakery to get an up close and personal look at her designs.
13 Colorful Pasta
Do you wish you could add some color and pizazz to your pasta dishes? Does the ordinary bland color bore you? You should take a look at Linda Nicholson’s pasta designs. Using shades that you've never seen on certain types of food before, she handcrafts pasta that has the colors of the rainbow. The colorful bowtie, ravioli, and tortellini pasta (among others) bear deep, rich colors such as pink, purple, green, and blue. The colors are naturally sourced–they come from foods that exist in nature. The blues are from butterfly pea flowers; the purple, from beets; the yellow, from turmeric and parsley, and so on. Linda uses her hands and specially designed tools to mould the pasta into perfect shapes.
12 Latte Art
Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night is arguably one of the best paintings known to man. The colorful scenery draws you into a world of fantasy where everything is beautifully blue and yellow. It's as calming as it is beautiful. Kangbin Lee is based in Korea, and he creates latte art such as this recreation of Starry Night. Imagine staring at your beverage and not being able to drink it because you're so mesmerized by its appearance. Anyone who's had the privilege of sampling Kangbin’s designs is no doubt all too familiar with that feeling. Kangbin used drinkable colored pigments to create his art.
11 Embroidered Cakes
Chef Judit Czinkn Por makes some fancy cakes and cookies that are covered in frosting that looks like embroidery patterns. To create the cakes, she uses various icings and piping tools to draw patterns and blooming flowers. Judith does all her work without the use of a sketch! She owns a bakery in Hungary called "Mezesmanna," and she also teaches baking and decorating. These cakes are absolutely stunning and belong in frames that people will surely brag about to their guests. She's been doing these designs since 2014 and says that practice has made her so masterful at what she does. Her skills as a porcelain painter certainly helped in her cake-building and cookie-making exploits.
10 Masterful Avocado
Colette Dike or "Miss Avocado" as she's affectionately called by her fans, is a chef, food stylist, and photographer. In all her dishes, you can find one main ingredient–avocado. She uses this food to create some amazing dishes. Dike says that her immense love of avocado started as pregnancy cravings that stuck around even after her child was born. She uses at least one avocado a day for personal use and in her artwork. She says that the avocado fruit is so volatile that it can be added to almost any food. Do you agree with this statement?
9 Popcorn Man
Dan Cretu is a Romanian artist who uses food as art. He takes basic food items such as oranges, popcorn, cucumbers, and tomatoes. His work consists of bright colors and works to transform food into something unusual but appealing. He has to work really quickly once he chooses a type of food to use because it can become discolored and lose its moisture. Although one of his pieces was chosen for this article, it’s important to note that he doesn’t just work with food. This sculpture of a popcorn guy drinking soda is edible, but would you really want to disturb it?
8 Trippy Cakes
These cakes by Stephen McCarty are hypnotic. Seriously. If you stare at one of these too long, you'll no doubt fall into a trance. The colors are vivid, bright, and swirl in a psychedelic pattern. Stephen is a vegan, Buddhist artist. This perhaps helps to explain the inspiration behind his cakes. All ingredients in the designs are raw foods and include plant and fruit extracts. The symbols in the cake are spiritual and ritual symbols in his religion. So, you'd better be reverent while eating! The cakes take a few days to make but are quite tasty. I’d encourage you to eat this cake right away; don’t stare too hard.
7 Fancy Cookies
Amber Spiegel is a prize-winning chef who specializes in cake and cookie decorating. Her desserts are truly works of art and one in a million. While in school, she found that her passion was baking, so she devoted all her time to that. She makes the dough and uses cookie cutters to carve out whatever design she'll work on. After they're baked, she starts working on the designs with a paintbrush and gel paste food coloring. If the design requires icing–which, in most cases, it does–she chooses her pastry bag tip and gets cracking. She allows the icing to dry for up to 2 hours or sometimes more.
6 Flower Lollipops
Janet Best makes flower lollipops by first growing edible flowers indoors and free of insecticides and toxins. She then incorporates pieces of or entire petals in lollipops with flavoring such as watermelon, blueberry, key lime, and cotton candy. The lollipops are made with rock candy and are sold (in singles or packs) at her Etsy shop. The best word to describe the lollipops would be "magical." They're bright, colorful, and transparent. These are so simple, but they're works of art that not many people have made. One could easily imagine that these are the kind of candies fairies would eat if they existed.
5 Incredible Pancakes
Nathan Shields is a father who taught himself how to create some pretty amazing pancakes. He started by making some amazing breakfast for his son. He was a math teacher and illustrator but has now turned his passion into a career. He makes personalized pancakes for sale. His tools are simple: batter, a bit of food coloring, a frying pan, and a squeeze bottle. His creations include famous people, cartoons, TV and movie characters, plants, and animals. Pancake art is nothing new, but Nathan’s story of how and why he started making his pancakes is inspiring. He was a stay-at-home dad who simply wanted to entertain his child, and now, he gets to share his talents with the world.
4 Carved Masterpieces
Fruit carver Gaku makes geometric shapes in food items. He takes an X-Acto knife to a piece of fruit or vegetable and makes patterns inspired by motifs from Japan. There's actually a rich food-carving tradition in Japan called "Mukimono." The practice has been around for centuries, and some historians think it might date as far back as the Edo period. The patterns are made on the skin or flesh of the foods that are normally served as garnishes. It requires quick and skillful work because most of the fruits he uses turn brown rather quickly. I wonder if we'd have a greater appreciation for vegetables if they all had beautiful patterns carved into them. Maybe not.
3 Flower Sushi
Although sushi creation is an art form, the more intricate designs are amazing to see. An example of this is a flower sushi. This YouTube tutorial gives step-by-step information on how to fashion them. Two half sheets of nori are split in half and cut to five equal pieces. The petals of the flower are made from pink sushi rice, which is placed in the center of one of the nori sheets and wrapped. This step is repeated for the next four rolls. A small rectangular piece of carrot is made into a circle by shaving the sides. Three of the petals are placed on a separate nori sheet, and the small piece of carrot is placed on top. Then, the last two pieces are added. The next steps involve wrapping and shaping the sushi rolls. It requires quite a bit of focus, especially if you've never made sushi before.
2 Smoothie Bowl
Smoothie bowls have become a trend, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. These breakfast meals are as colorful as they are sweet. Anyone can make one. You just have to take the time to shop for fruits, nuts, and berries. This particular bowl of banana berry smoothie is an easy ten-minute recipe. You'll need bananas, frozen raspberries, coconut water, almond milk, LSA meal, blueberries, granola, strawberries, and plain yogurt. The next step is to peel and chop some of the bananas and place them in a blender with all the other ingredients. Once everything is smoothly blended, pour the mixture into a bowl, and neatly arrange some fruits and granola on top of it. You can swirl some yogurt on top as well.
1 Creative Fresh Fruit Platter
Fruit platters are beautiful and make great gifts. They're healthy and a hit with almost every crowd. In order to create one that's visually appealing, it takes imagination, patience, and a skillful hand. The person or persons making the platter have to decide what they need to add to it. A bit of artwork and, in the end, a fresh platter is ready–after about 25 -60 minutes, depending on how elaborate the platter is. The fruits are arranged on a clean platter–sometimes, a tray, and other times, something fancy such as a mirror. A sharp knife is used to trim the rind and cut the heavier fruits thinly to create a base. The base fruits are often melons, pineapples, and cantaloupes. The slices should be even and organized in an orderly fashion. If there are odd gaps in the platter, smaller fruits can be tucked into those areas.