Interview: Food For Thought With Tisha Cherry's Art In The Eats

Boy have we got something tasty for you FRANK readers to look forward to with our new upcoming columnist, Tisha Cherry! Obviously we all love food, but Tisha has the unique vision to harness that love into the recipe for happiness, turning everyday snacks into smile-inducing works of art.

Inspired by the (str)eats, Tisha Cherry’s adoration of food eventually turned into a serious culinary hobby. Directly from her plate to your iPhone screen, the confectionaries feature subjects like The Simpsons Doh-nuts, to Star Wars (cookie) Wookies, all the way to Biggie cheese sandwiches! A New Jersey-bred nurse by day, there’s a lot on her plate when she sets out to cook up these delectable foods for thought.

If you haven’t been able to digest the bad puns, a recurring theme in her work, then just feast your eyes upon her #ArtInTheEats smorgasbord on Instagram. Before introducing her new FRANK column next week, we sat down with Tisha to discuss her inspirations, beginnings, and the future of a food junkie who “believes she can fry”—don’t worry, you’ll understand the Kells reference if you keep scrolling.

What made you begin creating art with food? When did you start?
My food art came as a product of my affinity for food and my boredom of the ordinary. I really just wanted to enhance the experience of eating and not just consume for sustenance. I wanted to turn the mundane into the magical from palette to palate. About 2 years ago, I first saw Bart Simpson’s silhouette in a pile of crumbled Butterfingers while prepping for brownies. Since then, every time I look at food I’ve been looking for a resemblance of some sort.

Where do you draw inspiration for your creations?
The inspiration comes mostly from the ingredients on the plate: the colors, textures, and shapes. Also, I listen to a lot of music in my down time—it transforms food preparation into a more creative and magical experience. But really, puns motivate me the most…I just appreciate a really bad pun.

Pop culture seems to be a big influence for you, as you’ve made works influenced by everyone from Biggie, to Warhol, to Star Wars, to The Simpsons. Why do you lean towards those themes especially?
I pay homage to the things I like with the thing I like the most—FOOD. Pop culture is essentially my muse and the food on my plate is my medium.

Where did you gain the skill to craft such detailed and tiny images using food? Tell us a bit about your techniques.
It’s not so much a technical skill as it is being resourceful and putting “the pieces” together. It’s about finding the right ingredient to mimic color and the right utensil to manipulate that ingredient. I use whatever I have in the kitchen: chopsticks, toothpicks, kitchen shears, fruit carving knife, etc. And if I make a mistake, I just eat it!

I’m curious…do you deliberately set out a time to make these creations, or does it just happen when you’re already eating and get a sudden urge to play with your food?
No, there really is not a set “food art time.” I just decide what I want to eat and my mind will just wander off the plate. Often times I find myself in a situation where there are ingredients I want to play with but I don’t because I’m really hungry or I don’t want to be rude at restaurants.

Is there any other medium you’d like to work with, or is this your most preferred form of expressing yourself?
With all the different kinds of food, it’s always instinct to turn them into art. I would love to have more time to explore different ways to express myself, but I find cooking and baking a form of art and very therapeutic in itself. I hope to develop my skills and take a more artistic approach, but for now I’m satisfied with my plate being my canvas and my chopsticks my paintbrush.

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