Meet Emily: Her experimental, ephemeral art is diverse and delicious

 

Emily’s studio arts research is just her flavor: sweet.  

“The complex nature of food art really draws me in. I like being able to explore how art can be involved in other types of my life, like the food.”

Emily previously apprenticed as a cake artist. This summer, her Honors research fellowship focused on experimental dessert designs and the culture of food presentation. 

The Honors fellowship is interdisciplinary, so she got to work with faculty and students exploring a diversity of mediums like music, theater, and poetry, which helped shape her work. 

“Even though we’re all doing something so different, the way they’re approaching things and asking me questions has gotten me thinking about how I can incorporate what we’re learning into my work.”

Her faculty mentor works in printmaking, which inspired Emily to experiment with sugar printing, trying to hand-pull cotton candy and roll out into “pages.” She also crafted a sound piece using sprinkles. 

“It’s smell, it’s taste, and sound — the fellowship gave me guidance to explore routes I could take with my project that I might not have thought about.” 

During the writing portion of the fellowship, Emily explored her own biracial identity using icing. She was struck by how many slang terms to describe being biracial were food-related. So she baked traditional black-and-white cookies that showcased those words, then iced accompanying hairstyle textures onto them.

All of this research and detail goes into every little cookie, which only lasts a short time. 

“Food art is a one-time experience. It’s a rare experience, and that makes it special. And such a happy one! I love seeing that connection and experience people have with my food. Taste is part of how people perceive my work.”