Artists with a certain kind of sweet tooth are dismayed at the news that snack food company Hostess has filed for bankruptcy.
“I’m taking the news pretty hard,” wrote artist Cory Oberndorfer in an e-mail. Oberndorfer’s paintings and murals are inspired by snack foods such as Donettes, Twinkies and Wonder Bread, all Hostess products. He and other artists have built careers on the fructose-laden sugary treats that have come to represent — for better or worse — Americana. Here’s a look at some of the sweetest art inspired by the financially strapped company.
Oberndorfer’s art contrasts the toughness of Roller Derby girls with the sweetness of junk food in large-scale murals. Oberndorfer also teaches art, and says he frequently uses Hostess Donettes as still-life objects for his drawing classes.
Photographer Thomas Altany created the below alternate take on Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” incorporating Hostess Twinkies and cupcakes into the scene. Altany created the photo for a 2005 Twinkie-themed group show for the American Society of Media Photographers’ in Pittsburgh. “I hadn’t eaten a Twinkie in probably 20 years,” Altany said to the Associated Press. “If you get the Twinkie fresh from the factory, oh, you can’t believe the difference.”
Jason Mecier creates mosaics out of common snack foods such as potato chips, M&M’s, Nutter Butter and Hostess Donettes. He often creates portraits of celebrities — a statement about the lack of substance in Hollywood? — and has depicted Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Rachael Ray and Jerry Seinfeld, among others.
The following may not look like a picture of a Twinkie — but Dwight Eschliman was inspired by Hostess, as well. In his series “37 Or So Ingredients,” he reduces a Twinkie down to its base ingredients, which include recognizable ones — such as the sugar and egg below — as well as chemicals such as Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate and Polysorbate 60.
Pamela Michelle Johnson addresses American gluttony in her work, which is manifest in her detailed, close-up oil paintings of snacks. “Through my work, I strive to invoke reflection on a culture focused on mass-consumption and mass-production, where the negative aspects of overindulgence are often forgotten or ignored,” she wrote in her artist’s statement.