A stack of newspaper, a silicone mold, and a bag of chocolate chips. Never would I have imagined that I’d be combining mediums such as these for an art project. They’re not the typical paint, graphite, and pastel materials one would expect to find in an art class, but then again, Foundations is not a typical art class. For a recent assignment, instead of revisiting the role of the painter or the sketcher, I became a chocolatier and book designer.
A specific theme or topic is incorporated into each project we do in Foundations. For this first project of the spring semester, the theme was desire. The parameters were to brainstorm something desirable, attach it to a conceptual symbol, and then shape that symbol into the form of a miniature, edible bas relief. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a bas relief was when the professor first brought it up (I found out on Google Images later). So when she started talking about making silicone molds to place edibles in, I was thoroughly confused. As she explained the process, however, things slowly began to become clearer.
We were provided materials I had never seen or used before. So I asked a lot of questions along the way to create my very first edible bas relief: a chocolate bike symbolic of my desire for travel and adventure. In the process I made a discovery: Chocolate is not only a very delicious medium, but also it’s very versatile. It picked up all the details of the bike’s silicone mold. Once that was done, I cut through stacks of newspaper to create a scene and book display case for my bike. At last, the project was complete, satisfactory, and sweet.
My peers’ presentations were all great. They displayed bas reliefs made from a variety of edible products, such as chocolate, butter, and gelatin. Everyone seemed to share the struggles involved in the process, but we all agreed it was worth the end result.
Learning how to do something new always involves an interesting trial and error process. This is especially true when it comes to creating a work of art. Before this project, I’d never used silicone or constructed a book of newspaper before, and I had never spent so much time melting (and eating) different types of chocolate before making the bike bas relief. I had so much fun trying all of these new things, though. I feel inspired to explore these materials further and to look into book design and mixed media as forms of art, and I plan on creating a similar artwork to submit to an art competition.
If there’s one thing I learned while making my chocolate bike, it’s that the possibilities are endless.