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People with Too Much Time on Their Hands: Toast Art

Published by Paula Mitchell Bentley in Offbeat
November 2nd, 2008

It’s amazing what people will do when they have lots of spare time. I recently discovered an entire new category of art, that of Toast Art.

It would never occur to me to take a picture of my toast.  Unless it had an image of the Virgin Mary on it or something.  Then I would make sure to capture just the right image for my posting on Ebay.  Seriously, though, it’s amazing what kinds of creative uses people have put their toasters and minds to.  I love it when bored people take a few steps outside of the box.  Sometimes it’s a few steps too many.  You be the judge.

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Okay, when I think of toast art, this is the kind of image that pops into my head.  Something even I, a toaster with limited experience, could achieve.  What sort of message is this artist trying to convey?  Do we need to balance our food intake?  Should the value of food be placed over the value of condiments?  Do the two rounded bites out of the toast mean something — maybe suggesting the shape of a bottom?  Or is this just one bored guy at a diner with a camera?

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This piece too looks like something that I could achieve if given a piece of bread.  However, it is actually an example of Rorshach Toast that is hanging in a museum in Germany!  Look deeply into the bread.  What do you see?  A happy face?  A butterfly?  Tell me about your mother…

Bread Typography by justintanwy.

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This has taken a few steps up the complexity ladder.  It looks like I could make it, I guess.  If only I had enough time.  The real question is, why would you want to make this?  I guess it’s neat.  It’s definitely different.

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The remainder of these pieces of art are of incredible complexity and require a great amount of artistic skill which, sadly, I do not possess.  The shading on this piece is amazing in it’s detail.  The texture of the toast lends the piece an almost aged feel.  It’s hard to conceive of this piece actually being made of toast.  It resembles a painting in sepia tones so much!

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This giant mural is located in Japan.  It is actually hundreds and hundreds of pieces of toast affixed to the wall.  The complexity and texture of the piece area truly amazing.  I like that this form of art is sort of like those photo mosaics made up of tiny, individual pictures.  You can look at one piece of it and see one thing.  And then you have to step back to see the big picture.

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This piece was made by Ingrid Falk and Gastavo Aguerre in Buenos Aires, 2001.  It is aptly titled “The Toaster” and is 5 meters wide and 4.5 meters tall.  It is made up of 2,500 pieces of toast and took several days to assemble.  It is supposed to be a statement about how art reproduces itself — as in, the toaster made it’s own image of toast or something like that.

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This is a portrait of a director named Peter Jackson made entirely of cocktail toasts.  It hangs in the Wellington, New Zealand airport.  It took 2,224 slices of cocktail toasts to create this portrait.  The artist’s name is Maurice Bennett.  He has created a number of other portraits in toast and even an image of Eminem in, you guessed it, M & M’s.

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This article wouldn’t be complete without a portrait of the King himself.  This work from Lennie Payne is detailed in a 2006 issue of Make Magazine.  In the article, Payne details how he creates his amazing images.  He, unlike some of the other artists featured here, does not use a toaster.  Instead he uses a propane blowtorch to scorch the bread.  He then scrapes away the burnt portions to create the different shading patterns that he wants for the overall piece.

He also details how he preserves his pieces.  Payne burns the toast, scrapes the tonal qualities into it and then lacquers the toast on all sides.  The completed piece of toast is then adhered to a backboard with silicone adhesive.  I’m sure that this process sounds easier than it really is.

True creation occurs when the mind has time to wander.  It’s amazing to me just how far some minds will actually wander though.  Thank goodness we are not all alike.  What a boring world it would be!  For a peek at another article that details what the bored can accomplish, click here.

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38 Comments
  1. Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Maybe people who write about people who make art out of toast have too much time on their hands. LOL

    some of that is truly incredible, but if I was going to work that hard, I think I’d want to use a more permanent medium.

  2. Posted November 2, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Hahahaha! Maybe I do have too much time on my hands! These artists claim that once shellacked, these pieces are very long lasting. I’m not entirely convinced though.

  3. Posted November 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

    How cool these are!

  4. Walker
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    My sister has a bit of toast art on her site:
    http://www.alicetippit.com/toast.html

  5. Posted November 2, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Some people do not really know what to do with so much time…

  6. Posted November 2, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Looks good enough to eat :)

  7. Posted November 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Great article,
    Next time I serve breakfast and hear the family sigh and complain about my toast making skills, I will tell them it is legitimate art – i was trying to artistically recreate an image of a black hole – honestly.

  8. Posted November 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    interesting….some people are a little too creative

  9. Posted November 2, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    These are so cool. I originally had a different idea of what this article was going to be about (just from what the title says) but this was an entertaining piece and better than what I thought it was going to be about. Great job and keep up the excellent writing.

    God Bless,

    Nelson Doyle

  10. Posted November 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Ancient Aspie took my line. Besides, I’m getting hungry.

  11. Posted November 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Interesting article. It’s really an art.

  12. Posted November 2, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Interesting!

  13. Jean Tripier
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I really have no idea why people make art with toast. I suspect it has to do with toast being the first thing they see after their first cup of coffee.
    Great post and fascinating insights for a portrait artist!

    Jean
    http://www.tripier.com
    http://edgeofbeauty.typepad.com/

  14. Posted November 3, 2008 at 9:06 am

    That’s insane!

  15. Mac
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 10:45 am

    That is great. The first few are… interesting I suppose, but the effort those other pieces must’ve taken, unreal.

  16. Posted November 3, 2008 at 10:45 am

    That is great. The first few are… interesting I suppose, but the effort those other pieces must’ve taken, unreal.

  17. Lauren Axelrod
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Are all of these toast? Some on them look like ceramic tiles. It is true, some people have way to much time on their hands.It’s like those that pick out the corn flakes and say they look like Jesus. Good Read.

  18. Posted November 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Cool little bit of a waste of food me thinks but an original idea of looking at ART!!! Where’s the butter though?

  19. Posted November 3, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Excellent Article.

  20. Alacron
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    How sad.

  21. junior mints
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    break out the jam. I saw a picture of a woman who made one of those resembling the mona lisa

  22. Juancav
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Innovative and unique article.

  23. roberosa
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    this is interesting to view.

  24. Posted November 4, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Who knew the King would look so awesome on bread! Very interesting read!

  25. Posted November 4, 2008 at 2:51 am

    This was cool

  26. Posted November 4, 2008 at 3:36 am

    first time i saw such kind of art,very interesting

  27. Posted November 4, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Well it’s definately different!
    The only thing that I find odd is the amount of people working with such a quirky medium, maybe it’s a fad that’s taking the art world by storm at the mo! :)

  28. Posted November 4, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Wow, what a fun article. I had no idea people were making art out of toast! I’ll never look at breakfast the same again. ;)

  29. Posted November 4, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Awesome! These people are really creative! Thanks for the wonderful article!

  30. Dorothy Valone
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:22 am

    There must be lots of happy ants.

  31. Posted November 4, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Fantastic!

  32. Posted November 4, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    ha! that’s absolutely amazing..

  33. Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:24 am

    An interesting article, and some cool toast art, as well. Thanks for presenting this.

  34. Posted November 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Amazing.

  35. frank lopez
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    very good article…there is an artist out here in Los Angeles who makes tortilla art…

    where will it end? Pita pietas?

  36. russell
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    nice

  37. griffin
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    really cool

  38. deanna rousseau
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    wow i thought i had a lot of time on my hands, guess not

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