(Note: “Extreme Decorating” is an ongoing series in which WallCandy Dad goes beyond removable wall stickers or reusable wall decals and explores unusual decorating ideas tried in homes, restaurants, hotels, businesses, tourist destinations and public spaces. We all get decoration inspiration from different places, as it is a reflection of our tastes and personalities).
Do you think that Taylor Swift’s music is sweet — or perhaps even a little too sweet?
No matter what your musical tastes, you have to admire the stunning pink-and-white mosaic portrait of her above. Take a closer look: Those colorful tiles are actually 5,000 Good & Plenty licorice candies!
This candy masterpiece is the handiwork of San Francisco artist Jason Mecier, who has become famous for capturing celebrity portraits with food or recycled items. Amongst Mecier’s biggest admirers (and clients) are the celebrities themselves. The following stars are only some of the personalities who have a Mecier mosaic hanging in their homes:
Parker Posey, Rosie O’Donnell, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Pink, George Lopez, Kathy Najimy, Bjork, Phyllis Diller, Ryan Adams, Barbi Benton, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Cho, Jackie Beat, The Scissor Sisters, Ricki Lake and Snoop Dog.
Mecier is self taught and did not attend any formal art school. He writes that his grandmother was his personal inspiration to tap into his creative side:
“When I was young, I remember being mesmerized by her paintings, weavings, mosaics, sculptures, collages, and stained glass work that filled my grandparents’ house and yard. If Anita was working on an art project, she would set me up at a nearby table with a project of my own to work on. One of my earliest pieces, is a mosaic made from beans, noodles, rocks, and cut bamboo sticks glued on a piece of wood. My grandmother encouraged me to create masterpieces using materials readily available to me. She would rather paint on the back of her cigarette cartons than buy a canvas. I learned from her that I can make art out of anything I want to, and that there are no rules.”
You’ve heard of that parlor game, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” Well, Mecier whimsically found one degree of separation between Bacon and bacon:
The 100% bacon version of Kevin Bacon was made from 15 pounds of breakfast strips and fetched $4,000 on eBay! To achieve the color variations, the artist cooked and burned pieces at various stages.
Mecier might receive a backlash for “wasting food,” but it’s probably no more than the average restaurant discards in an hour. On the flip side, he scores major environmentalist points for taking recycled waste and turning it into something meaningful.
The below portrait of visionary Apple founder Steve Jobs is created with trashed computer parts, which seem to become obsolete sooner and sooner these days as consumers demand the latest incarnations. The portrait, made from an iPod, iBook, circuit boards, keyboards, CDs and floppy discs, is based on the famous photograph of the technology icon snapped by Albert Watson.
In case you were wondering how Mecier keeps his food art from rotting and decomposing when he’s done, he coats all of his work with a heavy dose of Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear glaze, a super high-gloss spray paint.
No matter whether you’re making mosaics from bacon, LEGOs, buttons or pottery shards, it’s worth revisiting the philosophy that a grandmother passed down to her grandchild: “I can make art out of anything I want to — and there are no rules.”
(Have you gotten creative with candy beyond the traditional gingerbread house? Don’t be shy. Please send us pics of your handiwork at the WallCandy Facebook page or on the WallCandy Pinterest Boards!)