Ida Frosk: The Art Toast Project

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The Art Toast Project: René Magritte, The Son of Man
The Art Toast Project: René Magritte, The Son of Man© Ida Frosk

We meet the woman behind one of the world's best food art Instagram accounts, Norwegian culinary innovator Ida Skivenes aka Ida Frosk

Restaurant etiquette has changed unrecognisably since Instagram became ubiquitous. These days, the tradition of saying grace has been replaced by the pre-eating ritual of uploading a sepia printed shot of your food with the hashtag #yum, a moment of euphoria only topped by the post-meal excitement of seeing how many likes and jealous comments it has garnered. Indeed, this burgeoning tradition has made the world of instagram rather banal, so it is refreshing when a creative brings a fresh and inspiring angle to the fetishisation of food, such as in the work of Norwegian culinary innovator Ida Skivenes aka Ida Frosk.

With her first post – a bear and a fox on toast – going live in June just last year, the past twelve months have seen Skivenes garner over 100,000 followers from her eclectic multiplicity of beautiful, witty works on plates, ranging from The Great Gatsby book cover, fashioned from fruit, jam and yoghurt, the Arcopolis of Athens made out of the ingredients of a Greek salad and breakfast for four as interacting Pac-Man pancakes. But one of the highlights of her feed is the Art Toast Project, where she has recreated famous pieces of art by the likes of Munch, Kandinsky, Degas, Picasso and Dalí on single slices of bread. Thoughtful, witty and delicious, here we present a gallery of Skivenes’ favourite works from the series, and ask her what inspired her to make so original an addition to the world of food art.

How did the Art Toast project start?
I started doing "regular" food art first, animals and cartoon characters and such. Then I thought it would be fun to explore my interest for modern art using food as the medium.  I often use word play as a source of inspiration, so this was based on the literal interpretation of "food art". 

Do you have a personal favourite piece?
My favorite is the recreation of the "Girls on the Jetty" by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. I love how all the details came together, and how the colours complement each other. Being able to use brown cheese, a quintiessential Norwegian product, added another layer to my exploration of this artist. 

What do you do with the toast after it has been recorded for posterity?
I usually eat it! This is not an art project as such, everything is made to be eaten. Seems like a shame perhaps but since it has been documented, there's always the chance to experience it once more - and to share it with others. I particularly enjoyed eating the Monet toast, made with pistachio butter, apples and kiwi - so yummy and beautiful!

"I particularly enjoyed eating the Monet toast, made with pistachio butter, apples and kiwi - so yummy and beautiful!"

What are your favourite ingredients to work with?
Various cheeses, bell peppers and cucumber for the savory pieces, and Greek yogurt, jams and berries for the sweeter versions. 

Do you try to make sure that they are delicious as well as beautiful and creative?
Yes, this is important for me. It can be more difficult when doing the Art Toasts because here the colours are more important than in my other food art but I always do my best to keep flavors in mind.

Has there been an artwork you have tried yet not been able to commit to bread? If yes, why?
I haven't always been 100% satisfied with the results but have in the end posted the pictures after a time of reflection. I do adjustments and remakes of a toast as I go along, trying my best to get to where I want to be - which might be a different place than where I started. There are certain artworks I know will be too hard to replicate, so I don't even try. It's usually a matter of too much detail (like "The Last Supper" for instance) or the complexity of facial expressions (like anything by Caravaggio) that hold me back.   

Who is your favourite artist?
I have no single favorite but I'm partial to the more modern artists and in particular the Surrealists, like Dalí. What I do feels sort of surreal too so it fits me well. 

Do you have any other themes you are considering for the future?
I also have a travel series going, where I recreate famous monuments using local ingredients (like the Acropolis made with Greek salad) plus I'm thinking of doing more book covers and perhaps record covers.

Follow Ida Frosk on Instagram @IdaFrosk.

Text by Tish Wrigley