Philomena Marano’s Sugar Rush: Escapism for the Eyes, Not the Mouth
Speaking of all things sweet and kitschy, step right up to Philomena Marano‘s SUGAR RUSH. The Brooklyn-based artist’s intricate papercraft candies are categorically close to these wooden popsicles: They’re visual art that triggers a taste sensation. Food art for sure, but not the kind you eat.
A lifelong Brooklynista, Marano gets her inspiration from the colorful city, and in particular, Coney Island. For her ongoing series SUGAR RUSH, she uses papier collé, a technique of painting with paper in which the individual pieces are elements in themselves. The series is ongoing. She writes: “I think the subject is inexhaustible. Just imagine how many different types of sweets exist in the world. Almost every culture has created something to subdue the craving…. a sugar rush is a mini escapism.” In Marano’s case, it’s a mini-escapism for the eyes, not the mouth! I asked her a few questions.
JB: What is the role of typography and lettering in your work?
PM: My treatment of the wrappers is indicative of how important typefaces and signage have always been to me as part of our visual culture. Take a look at the complex works on my site (Coney Island category), and you’ll see how words are an integral element within the compositions. I will certainly be making portraits of more candy with wrappers. (By the way, I treat the foreign languages as shapes. For example, the candy bar from Lebanon.)
JB: What sort of paper do you use?
PM: I use Color-Aid paper, which is a paper that’s coated with screen printing ink. The colors are lush and vibrant, making the work look a lot like a screenprint. That is, until you’re up close and personal and discover that the artwork is actually cut and layered. First, I trace the shapes on to the back side (the unprinted side) of the paper, and then I cut them out with an X-acto knife. Since the pieces are small (about 4″ x 6″), I often use tweezers to place the shapes, and I apply them with acid-free glue.
JB: Would you do ‘commissioned’ candy ‘portraits’? Are the SUGAR RUSH pieces for sale?
PM: Sure, I would do commissioned portraits of candy, and yes, the SUGAR RUSH pieces are for sale at $225 each. If a commission is larger and/or more complex, the price would vary accordingly. Currently my site does not have a “store,” but I will be setting up a
Paypal account soon. If there interest in the work before, I can be reached via email at philox [at] earthlink [dot] net.
JB: So what’s your favorite candy these days?
PM: These days, I favor swedish fish and anything gummy: gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy coca cola bottles. The reason you don’t see any gummies represented in my series is because when I bring a bag of them to my studio, by the time I take out my x-acto knife, they’re already gone!!
Check out http://www.philo-mania.com for more candy, nostalgia and fun!
Philo your Sugar Rush series is amazing!! I so love the way it is displayed on the wall. The tutty fruity colors with the plexi-glass casing looks yummy. Wish I could see them up close in Brooklyn. I can see them all hanging on the wall in my kitchen where the dining table is. I’m so happy for you. You are the whole package. Love you!!! Helaine
Thank you! yes, Yummy…
I’m having a sweet time making these-
gotta be careful not to eat up my reference material! Philo
So delicious! These are cute and charming as well as artistically beautiful!
I wish I could see these in person! This article makes me want to learn more about these wonderful pieces.