The Story Behind My Bread in Cellophane Series

The Story Behind My Bread in Cellophane Series

by Carolyn Chua

Rise and Shine
16" x 23.4" Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Paper 200g/m2 120lbs, Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer pencils.

I drew my first bread in cellophane artwork, "Rise and Shine," as one of the three exhibiting food artworks in the Faber-Castell Malaysia's Inaugural Art Exhibition,
"Amplify" in 2016.

At that time, I was in search of a solid concept in showcasing my art at its best. I naturally gravitate towards food art as I'm fascinated in drawing textures and presenting it as a delicious, universal theme and topic with many who are foodiphiles. In the end, I came up with the idea of drawing bread in cellophane based on the phrase "earning my bread and butter".

I had just left the corporate world and embarked on being a full-time artist; all geared up for the artistic journey ahead. Naturally, I chose a loaf of bread in a cellophane bag as a still life subject. My artistic story drawing cellophane was the lure to showcase my real talent but it also posed the biggest, mind-bending drawing challenge ever to me.

Also, bread is the basic staple food of people around the world, and it takes on many varied forms in cultures and traditions of people. I also found it challenging that how I could spin a simple, humble still life subject like loaf of bread into an interesting narrative where a person (or an art viewer) will never look at it as just a loaf of bread. The cellophane bag gives the loaf of bread in it more drama; its crinkly reflections connote events that shape or influence the making (or drawing) of the bread.

That's how "Rise and Shine" was born. It spoke about many personal, not-so-personal stories on many levels; from the rising of the bread to a deliciously baked one, to waking up at dawn in preparation for the new day and having a productive day. However, the most prominent message from this artwork described my motivation and determination in being a successful artist come what may.

14" x 19" Fabriano Cold Pressed Watercolor paper 200g/m2 90lbs, Derwent Inktense blocks, Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer, Polychromos, White Gouache.

After the "Amplify" exhibition, I started on another piece of bread in cellophane artwork "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread" which was juried in the 24th CPSA International Exhibition. I wasn't 100% sure if I wanted to pursue a series of this type of food still life but after attending the CPSA in Tacoma, WA, and hearing the juror Michael Munroe's critique on my artwork, I gained more confidence with my creative direction, drawing techniques and skills.

Since then, I've produced eight bread in cellophane artworks altogether; each has their own story to tell as there were influential events that contributed in the making of it. I strive to find unusual bread in cellophane sold in bakeries to draw and create a character to it with a compelling story behind it. An example is "Acceptance", a still life of charcoal bread slices in an opened cellophane bag. It was a time of turmoil when Donald Trump was running for his presidency; it had a shocking effect on the world platform too. I took the creative license in adding words on the cellophane to reflect my feelings, and the experiences of drawing it with the political change.

The charcoal slices are my interpretation of the aftermath or outcome of this transformation - unexpectation and resignation.

It's Gotta Be Frooty Loopy!
8" x 12" Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Paper 220g/m2 135lbs, Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

My subsequent artworks from this series have taken on a more light-hearted but conceptual approach as I feel I have to evolve more than just presenting simple still life works. "It's Gotta Be Frooty Loopy!" is my latest, and it's a play on the mind and visual (you either see a fish or a snail) but actually see bread slices!

For sure my bread in cellophane series will continue and evolve in the future. I see there is continuity in my idea and the never-ending presentation and the stories that come from each artwork.

About the artist:

Carolyn majored and graduated in Graphic Design from the Malaysian Institute of Arts. She has worked in many creative studios in major media industries before becoming a full-time artist. She is a CPSA member and her main artistic focus is colored pencil art and the pursuit of its excellence. See more on her Facebook page here.

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