It’s not uncommon to hear a plate of food described as “a work of art,” but for Instagram artist Jessie Bearden, food is actually a tool for art. And her subjects? Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Turning in pencils and paints for things like ice cream, cereal and condiments, Bearden, 23, has carved out a unique niche for herself, using social media as her platform for exposure.
“I got really sick of painting because it was just too limiting,” Bearden tells PEOPLE. “And pop culture seemed like a natural subject for me.”
Once you see her work, her influences are clear, with a crushed cereal Caitlyn Jenner being an homage to her famous Wheaties box cover, and the “Sugar”-y Adam Levine portrait a nod to his band’s hit of the same title.
Usually, however, this New York City–based artist’s inspiration comes from the food itself, not the pop-cultural connotation.
“Whenever I go to the grocery store, I get really inspired by the colors and textures,” she says. Take this rendition of Rihanna, for example, made entirely of melted ice cream (she used a trio of vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavors, and mixed them together to create levels of shading).
… or this ketchup-and-mustard-based portrait of late rapper Biggie Smalls.
Seriously, she could teach a class called Contouring with Condiments.
Though she says her pieces can sometimes take three or four hours, the work has paid off. She’s recently landed gigs with the likes of Jelly Belly andMcDonald’s, for whom she created a McCafé display using coffee.
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