Monthly Archives: May 2012
If I say yet another artist has created a series of skulls out of some unusual materials I don’t blame you for drifting off to sleep as the concept has literally been done to death… …but wake up as the art of Helen Altman is rather special indeed. She has created a series of skulls created using kitchen spices with the texture of each revealing its true nature — be it Chinese tea, split yellow mung beans or even mustard seed. Some are clearer than others (the citrus peel skull is not an obvious skull at first glance for example, but when shown as a collection these pieces are incredibly strong.
In the artists own words:
“I only use materials that are safe around my home, the best thing about the skulls is that they are ‘all natural’ and safe for wildlife to eat. That is how the series started. I used birdseed to make feeders for the birds. You can buy those bell-shaped pressed-seed feeders at almost every feed and pet store. A skull shape made as much sense (more sense to me) as a ‘bell’ did and I used all sorts of seeds that could be eaten by birds and other wildlife. I mix and pack the skulls on a table in my back yard and there is usually leftover material. If the media is something the birds like, I’ll put it on a feeder for them. Sometimes the media actually sprouts under the table. The homemade ‘glue’ (my own secret recipe) is also edible.”
Apologies to those of you who may have already read about Helga’s astonishing work on Cakehead Loves Evil, it’s a given I remain incredibly excited she is taking part in The Edible Autopsy and will be creating our corpse. The images on this post featuring some of her previous work should give you an indication of how realistic this will look, especially the marzipan cesarean (above).
Helga began using marzipan as a material after seeing an image of Dame Barbara Cartland (below – yes that is made from MARZIPAN!) and felt compelled to create a sculpture of her. Because she looked so “artificially sugary” marzipan was chosen as a medium. Following this Helga really came into her own creating more anatomically correct sculptures including animal organs and rotting pig heads from the same medium.
I’ve leave you with a comment from Helga which will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind she is is absolutely perfect for our devilish endeavors.
“It seemed to prove that sweet material cannot only create ‘cute’ things. On the contrary – the bitter sweet side tempted me”
Read more about Helga Petrau-Heinzel here.
I love the work of Stephen Shanabrook a conceptual artist living and working in New York and Moscow. I have also been talking to him over the past few years about various projects and you couldn’t ask to Skype with a nicer man. His work provokes such a strong reaction, even disgust, in me and shows what art can do at it’s most powerful; I adore it even though it scares and repulses me.
The pieces of his work which unsettle me in particular are his chocolate sculptures which have been cast from the fatal wounds of people lying dead in morgues presented as wedding favours (below), and in one case the life sized cast of the remnants of an 18 year old suicide bomber cast in chocolate (above & video).
It’s hard to think of someone more perfect to work with on Eat Your Heart Out: The Morgue Years than Stephen but what I need to ask myself is if people would buy chocolate bars with such a gruesome & sad story to tell? Eating these chocolates would provide an enjoyable taste sensation and disgust you at the same time – creating a unique experience which has the ability to drastically change our perceptions of what we’re about to eat. So in short the very essence of what Eat Your Heart Out, and indeed our Edible Autopsy is all about. Is there anything so disturbing it becomes unpalatable despite being delicious? Well this October we are set to find this out.
Son of an obstetrician and the town coroner, as a child Shanabrook worked at a chocolate factory in a small town in Ohio. Overlapping these oppositional influences the artist created a unique vision of beauty, one on the threshold of death, pain and disaster. Shanabrook gives a new and often disturbing meaning to substances and forms otherwise associated with comfort, happiness and banality. By molding chocolates on the wounds on the corpses, Shanabrook tries to supplement the horrific image of the wounds with the seductive smell of the chocolates. And from the responses he gets from the public, it seems that the more people observe the pralinés, the more they forget about the fact that they are molded on the corpses, and give in to the enjoyment of the smell.
He also sells some of his pieces as chocolate which can be eaten or saved as a work of art – much like our concept for Cake Britain. Street Anatomy recently offered this chocolate heart for sale via their shop priced at $119 – it belonged to the teen victim of a police suicide and you can clearly see where the bullet both entered and left their heart. It is cast from a specimen which been kept by a pathologist since 1960 and I don’t think there is a darker chocolate design to be found.
As you may already know I am working with Andrew Williams, a respected and experienced food journalist who was latterly acting editor of baking trade bible, British Baker, in setting up Beaten & Creamed (coming soon). It’s a very different (I am being a madam and attempting to trying and ban anything pink) innovative baking magazine, and we’re also working together on the planning of Eat Your Heart Out: The Morgue Years which will serve as the magazine’s official launch. The reason why I am sharing this with you is dogs, cake dogs to be precise.
Andy is proving to be an incredible hunter & gatherer of new & innovative baking talent which neatly brings me onto Cake Doggy Dog who he’s just brought to my attention (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it – again a puntastic name is the best asset you can have). Puns aside it also totally reiterates my point that you need a strong stand out feature (or in ‘work speak’ USP) when setting up a cake business and there is no such thing as “but there is no new angle” excuse for being blah as proven with this post, most of the content on this site and the things we sell in our pop ups.
Their great doggy concept, combined with perfectly designed cupcakes, mean it should come as no surprise that the team behind these creations are two artists come cake bakers who like to blur the lines between cake, reality and art. Oh I just love them already… …I have to say the non cake dogs on their site are not the best examples of sculptural cakes I have seen but just look at the dogs!!! Taste wise I wouldn’t know but I don’t eat cake for pleasure anyway – if I did then pretty darn sure I would have an arse the size of a small country in no time at all. Personally I also think they are a tad on the expensive side starting at £300.00 but perhaps this is as they are business minded enough to know that when it comes to people and their pets money is no object (as I write this Fish my cat has just attacked my Robin Day sofa again but of course the scratching pole is in pristine condition). To clarify it seems a very fair price for the cakes they are offering, but personally I would never buy a cake that costs that much (unless for a wedding).
This is what they have to say about cake dogs:
Is it a dog? Is it a cake? No, its a cakedog!
As dog lovers we believe that no two dogs are the same. Let’s face it, a dog is just as (if not a whole lot more) fascinating than you’re average person. At Cake Doggy Dog we bring together all the personality and character of your pet and capture it in cake. You’ll be forgiven for thinking they’re too good to eat! (But do eat them…trust us, they’re yummy!)
Our dog cakes are one standard size (made to fit on a 14” x 10” board) which serves 25-30 small portions. Our cakes can be made in Vanilla, Chocolate or Red Velvet
Each of our cakes are priced at £300.
Go on… Have your dog and eat it!
What do you think? Is this a niche too far, or a genius marketing stunt? I’ll be honest in that I don’t really care as I love dogs and I love cake design. It would be great to have them on board for both Eat Your Heart Out and Beaten & Creamed – although clearly it would have to be a rabid dog for the Halloween pop up! Cake Doggy Dog clearly have some talent for innovative ideas and it excites me to think of what they may come up with when faced with our
slightly very twisted brief… I’ve leave with you an image of one of their cupcake collections which are really quirky and clever with titles that make me want to find out, and of course eat, some more. Best of all they are that super rare creature called an ‘original cupcake design’, and not very derivative of cupcakes I’ve seen before.
‘Cakes’of Dictators Fidel Castro and Alexander Lukashenko were created for an Amnesty International campaign by ad agency Euro RSCG Prague. Now I’ve been squinting at these images for a good half an hour and whilst I have given myself a headache I have not yet worked out if these are real or not. Anyone?
Coccadotts Cake Shop has created a unique cupcake – corn-bread muffin base with bleu-cheese frosting and a chicken wing – an inspired PR stunt to promote The National Chicken Council for the Super Bowl. Reminds me something you’d see on Cupcake Wars (along with those hideous women who wear pink and cover EVERYTHING in glitter). Personally I don’t think their online shop is worth a visit and it appears to be a festival of blah.
If chicken cupcakes not your thing then what about cupcakes that just look like chicken?
As I can’t bake the success of Eat Your Heart Out, and indeed all my projects, comes down to the amazing talented cake makers who get involved – Miss Insomnia Tulip a case in point. I’ve already posted about her work a fair bit so when I decided the world needed a series of cake pops featuring the key characters in the Leveson Inquiry (she thought of including God & the LOL Blackberry) it was easy to decide who to approach for this. I was right – she’s nailed it.
Who do you want to eat (leave it) most?
If you want to know more about these cake pops, or Miss Insomnia Tulip, then drop me a line or visit her Facebook page. High res images available for print.
Hmmmmmm starts to wonder what political debacles we can include when the shop opens… Or maybe Private Eye (or another brand) need to support some kind of edible political pop up.
AS FEATURED ON:
The Guardian, Boing Boing, Melville House, Neatorama, Time Out (blog), London Baking, Run Riot, Anorak, Broadsheet, Guardian Tumblr, CozyCot, World’s Strangest, Hillman Foundation, Make and Do with Perri and many more…
Thanks to everyone for loving these and sharing these.
Bloody hell check this out – a cake shop in Japan’s Diamond City Mall has walls made out of cake. As soon as we get a sponsor I’ll be investigating this approach for Eat Your Heart Out – just imagine if it was a wall of anatomical cakes and bleeding hearts.
Sometimes the most simple ideas work best and this 500 Calorie Bomb – which comes in the shape of a grenade filled with candy – is a perfect example of that approach.
Created by artist Raphael Volkmer his vision behind the piece however is not so simple but very predictable.
Easter is every year again a huge chocolate battle if not even a chocolate orgy. The average European household consumes more than 1kg chocolate every Easter. The calories bomb is a self-questioning product that takes this fact and my attitude towards easter as an atheist into account. It is about a satirical and humorous confrontation between consumer and object, a product indicating a peak point of excessive consumption of our days.
75% cocoa swiss premium chocolate / Filled with M&Ms / 500kcal
It continues to puzzle me why some of the most innovative food items are created by artists yet very few food brands reach out directly to them, something we are trying to change. The David A Smith x CSC ‘Road Kill Bambi’ cupcake (shown below) we sold at EYHO came with a limited edition work of art certificate and was one of our top sellers. This years pop up shop will feature more edible art elements than ever before… ….and that’s all we are telling you for now.
Any artists out there who may be interested in working with us please do get in touch!