Artist Nathan Wyburn Likes to Play With His Food
“It was a newspaper headline about Simon Cowell saying ‘Love Him or Hate Him,’ and I instantly thought of marmite as that’s their slogan,” says Wyburn of how the idea of using food as a medium originated. “Toast seemed a very fitting canvas to keep it authentic and quirky!”
That Cowell was the inspiration behind Wyburn’s food art only seems appropriate, given that the 25-year-old appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, where he created an on-the-spot toast and marmite portrait of host Michael McIntyre. While Cowell was the first food art portrait Wyburn created, “I can remember sketching portraits of my favorite childhood TV stars like the Power Rangers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I was about eight years old with my father.”
Wyburn has merged his unique creative talent with what he describes as “a very Warhol-like obsession with pop culture” into a one-of-a-kind portfolio that’s both fun and fascinating to look at, as evidenced by the pieces below, which range from a slice of Obama to peanut butter and Britney Spears.
1. JUDY GARLAND
Inspired by her singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in The Wizard of Oz, Wyburn used Rainbow Drops Sweets to create this portrait of the legendary singer-actress.
2. BRITNEY SPEARS
"America's most loved snack/spread for America's sweetheart!" is how Wyburn describes his peanut butter and jelly painting of the pop princess.
3. BOB MARLEY
Wyburn painted "the most iconic reggae singer of all time" with Reggae Reggae BBQ Sauce.
4. Cara Delevingne
Wyburn chose crisps for his portrait of the model-actress, because "I liked the irony of a super model created from carbs snacks." For her part, Delevingne was impressed, tweeting "Thank you Nathan Wyburn for making me out of biscuits!!"
5. DAVID BECKHAM
In the case of David Beckham, Wyburn let the footballer inspire his method—not his medium—and painted this with his feet.
6. KATY PERRY
Inspired by her hit song "Roar"—and the fact that she refers to her fans as "Katy cats"—Wyburn utilized cat food to create this Perry portrait.
7. BARACK OBAMA
"Pizza has become a very Americanized meal and I therefore thought the President of America would be fun," says Wyburn of this multi-topping Obama pie.
8. LADY GAGA
"In Wales we call soda 'pop,'" says Wyburn. "Inspired by her Artpop album, I wanted to make her art with pop."
9. SIMON COWELL
The celebrity who inspired it all: Simon Cowell's marmite on toast. "Marmite's slogan is 'you either love it or hate it,'" explains Wyburn. "Most say the same applies for Simon!"
10. QUEEN ELIZABETH
Royalty is no match for Wyburn, who made The Queen out of Greek delicacies, "Created for the opening of a Greek restaurant in Windsor."
11. MILEY CYRUS
"Inspired by her trademark poking out of her tongue, I used paint on the end of my tongue to lick the canvas," says Wyburn.
12. STEPHEN FRY
Playing up the actor-comedian's surname, Wyburn assembled this portrait out of egg fried rice & vegetables.
Loving the "name relation," Wyburn used Twiglets for Twiggy.
"Inspired by the colors and the French connection," Wyburn used piles of Bic pen parts to create this portrait of Les Misérables' Cosette.
15. WILL & KATE
Wyburn utilized thousands of folded babygrows (sort of like onesies) to celebrate the birth of Princess Charlotte.
16. MARILYN MONROE
Marilyn Monroe graces the cover of Wyburn's first book, Not That Kind of Art, which will be out this year. "It's made up of marmite on toast, chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, toothpaste, and baked beans."
All images courtesy of Nathan Wyburn