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!