Lauren Purnell – CULINARY CANVAS

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Mit dem Essen spielt man nicht! In der Regel stimmt das, doch bei Lauren ist die Ausnahme gewollt. Lauren Purnell Passion und Hobby ist Food Art, aus übrig gebliebenen Speiseresten macht Lauren kulinarische Gebilde. Ihre Food Art nennt sie „Culinary Canvas“, hierfür nutzt sie sowohl Schalen, Kerne, als auch ganze Früchte und diverse Gemüsereste, bevor sie nur im Mülleimer landen würden.


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Elle:
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What sparked your interest in food photography?

Lauren Purnell:

So my name is Lauren Purnell and I’m 24 years old, originally from Canada but working as a brand consultant in London, UK. Food and Photography are my passions outside of work and a hobby I actively pursue through my Food Art.

I started ‚Food Art‘ three years ago when I was at university in Canada. I was cooking for a few of my friends one night (Spaghetti Carbonara) and I started playing around with the leftover bits of food on my plate, eventually manipulating them into a tree – the ’spaghettree‘. I uploaded the creation to Facebook and it got a really great response so I decided to start experimenting a bit and seeing what else I could create. From there the combination of food and art became a fun part of my culinary experiences and a way for me to channel by creativity by combining it with my love for food and photography. Over time I decided to develop my photo-blog, Culinary Canvas as a creative outlet for sharing my art with others. I call the pieces ‚Culinary Canvases‘, reflecting the art I create on white plates (canvases) using elements of fresh food.

A unique part of what I do is that it’s all about re-purposing scraps of food that would normally be thrown away. Originally I used leftover bits of food from my meals but over time I realised that some of the best colours, textures and such were actually from the often dismissed or inedible parts of the foods such as peels, pitts, skins, rinds, etc. so I decided to incorporate these items into my creations to re-purpose and transform them before they’re thrown away. Of course if I do use edible bits (whole blueberries, slices of fruit) then I eat it afterwards!

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Elle:
Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

Lauren Purnell:

So it can go one of two ways: I either have a specific idea in mind for something I want to create, such as a holiday piece, or alternatively, it will be a matter of looking in my fridge, seeing what there is and then seeking inspiration from that.

Regardless, much of what I create is inspired my personal experiences and the beauty I perceive in everyday things and in nature. I’m really inspired by my surroundings, whether that is outside or inside the kitchen, I like to combine the beauty that fresh food provides with things I’m exposed to in day-to-day life. Consequently, many of the pieces reflect my interests and experiences such as animals, the outdoors (especially flowers), traveling or specific seasonal events such as National Holidays, so creating the pieces usually depends on the season and my experiences at any given time.

The process itself is fairly simple. I don’t use any fancy tools or anything to make the food stick together (sometimes people think they’re glued on!), I just use a small knife to carefully create the desired shapes – or I’ll just work around the natural shape of the fruit or vegetable itself – and then from there I just use my hands to very delicately assemble the pieces into the image.

Once I have the pieces how I envisioned them on the plate, then I simply take the picture on a table with nice natural light, against a white foam board. The entire process usually ranges from 45 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the level of detail involved.

From there I either eat the edible bits afterwards, use them later for cooking, or alternatively I’ll put the bits back in the fridge to maybe be re-purposed for another piece later on!

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Elle:
Any quotes you live by? / Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Lauren Purnell:

There are so many quotes that I love! Although if I had to pick one line that really drives me it’s simply „Why the hell not?“.

I’m really trying to be as open to opportunities as possible and to just push the boundaries in terms of what I can create and where I go from here. I definitely would love to create a coffee table book with a collection of my pieces over the years, that would be a dream.

I think there’s actually a good David Bowie quote that ties into the next question of where do you see yourself in 10 years and that’s:
„I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.“

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the artist or label. No reuse of images without express permission.

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