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Food Art: Leah Foster

Guest blogger, Bianca Palumbo, talks about art, cupcakes and self-empowerment.

While reading some news on I was drawn in by an article with a photo featuring hundreds and hundreds of prettily frosted cupcakes.  My first thought…how is this art?  Its just cupcakes.  Have you ever seen anything like this before?  I know I hadn’t.  The more I read about this project, though, the more I realized just how creative, inspirational and truly artistic it was.

Leah Foster, of Dilley, Texas, has created astonishing art installations by baking tens of thousands of different-colored cupcakes and stringing them together.  The 24-year-old- an art student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York – has baked more than 13,000 cupcakes for just two of her projects, but has lost count of the total number she has put in the oven.

This project is her idea of expressing “gender-based body image expectations” and it all came to life through her guilty pleasure of cupcakes!  “I started baking the cupcakes as a way to explore gender-based body image expectations.  It started out because cupcakes were a guilty pleasure for me.  I’d bake them all the time, but never eat them. I really began to question the idea of the guilty pleasure. Was it for health reasons or for vanity?”

This particular project is aimed at girls with personal insecurities – helping them bake cupcakes and write down a fear, insecurity, or anxiety which would then be stuck into their cake, like a fortune cookie.  “I asked all of them to decorate the outside of their cupcake with the way they present themselves to the world – such as bright, colourful, shy, quiet or classic.  A cupcake is almost everything I’ve been taught to be.  It’s cute, pretty, and petite, yet individual – not part of the larger cake.  I feel this is symbolic of the current situation of my generation.  Women are taught to be pretty on the outside and the inside, to be smart and attractive, to be individual and independent. For me, the cupcake represents this contradiction and duality.”