Fine art and late night comedy inspired the creators of the winning entries of the UC Produce Collage Contest.
UC Davis students Yeojin Jung and Maria Robles Gonzalez, and UC Irvine alumnus Don Rose each won $75 gift cards to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from LocalHarvest.
The Web-based contest offered people a chance to play with their food while creating art with pictures of fruits and vegetables grown in California and nurtured by University of California research. The site, created as part of UC’s Global Food Initiative, offers users a chance to learn about the impact that UC research has had on agriculture in the state.
After seeing “American Gothic” in a class, Jung was inspired to create her own version for the collage contest. She used almonds, raisins, garlic, carrots, celery, avocados, pumpkins, tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus and broccoli to reproduce the iconic Grant Wood painting of a farmer and his daughter.
“My rendition is dedicated to our farmers and their relentless hard work,” said Jung, a junior majoring in sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Robles Gonzalez used raisins, walnuts, almonds, garlic, mint, a carrot, a cucumber and asparagus layered on blueberries, rice and oranges to create a version of surrealist artist René Magritte’s “Son of Man” painting. She said the collage contest’s concept of art fused with food got her thinking about paintings because of the colors and shapes of fruits and vegetables.
“I thought it was interesting how this contest flipped the common practice of using art to depict objects and instead used food to create art,” said Robles Gonzalez, a senior majoring in wildlife, fish and conservation biology.
Rose said drawing caricatures had been a hobby in high school, and for the collage contest, he started playing around with the shapes until an image of late night TV host Conan O’Brien’s distinctive face began to form. The finished caricature includes asparagus, garlic, mint, carrots and blueberries.
“This contest inspired me to get back into art,” said Rose, who earned a doctorate in computer science at UC Irvine. “I’m hoping to do more caricatures and digital art.”
The contest is over but the UC Produce Collage site will remain available for people to play with their food.