Artist “Red” Hong Yi once recreated Ai Weiwei’s face from 20,000 sunflower seeds. She’s depicted Jackie Chan using 64,000 chopsticks, a piece of art Chan himself commissioned for his 60th birthday. World-renowned for her gargantuan portraiture made from ordinary materials, Red’s talents have been lauded by the likes of The Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal. But when she isn’t working on massive depictions of celebrities, she doesn’t stop creating. Her plate-sized works—smaller, but no less awe-inspiring—look good enough to eat. And that’s exactly what she does after she’s done with them.
These modestly sized creations were the result of a personal challenge of Red’s: to make plated pieces of art, entirely from food, for 31 straight days. For an artist used to working on a more substantial scale, the project became, in her words, “a way to push myself to create and deliver, even if I wasn’t happy with the end product.”
Not so long ago, Red’s artistic projects were only a hobby. In 2012, she was employed at an architecture firm. She designed residential towers that kept her glued to a screen. Each building took years to complete. “I worked on art projects as a breather from the computer,” says Red. She was looking for opportunities to create things using her hands. So began the transition to art.
That year, a video of Red using a basketball to paint Yao Ming’s face went viral on Youtube. Not long after, commissions from international corporations starting coming in. By 2013, she was dreaming up massive art installations—influenced by large-scale artists Chuck Close and El Anatsui—as a full-time job.
After working in grand schemes and using bulk materials (think 2,000 socks at a time), Red decided to downsize. So everyday in March of 2013, culinary staples became her paint and plates became her canvas.
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