The story behind our 70th birthday Food Is Art commission.

To celebrate our 70th birthday, we commissioned a piece of art work from Bideford-born artist, Alice Guymer. She tells us her story:

“I have lived in Bideford all my life. In 2019 I moved to London to study illustration at UAL Camberwell College. I currently live in Hackney in east London and love the lively and dynamic communities here. I never tire of walking around the area where I love to find inspiration for the pieces I create, or at the very least, I use all the beautiful parks around Hackney as a contemplative space to think about how to approach my projects. 

I mainly use digital art in my practice, using drawing programmes on my iPad. Working in this way has allowed me to develop the way I work and engage with the topics I choose to depict. I tend to focus on food in culture, rituals around food and differing relationships with food in my artwork. I have always had something of an obsession with drawing food because for me it becomes an immersive experience. I also find it a very enriching topic to examine as I am able to be self-reflective in my own perceptions; learning and growing with each piece I decide to make. 

My inspirations come from so many places! Following multiple artists on social media, studying and watching them in university – I am constantly absorbing other influences than my own. Seeing others’ ways of approaching problems inspired me to be more experimental in my practice. Mental health and activism is also a huge inspiration for me. I feel art should be somewhere where people can feel seen and relate. I want to create pieces that show the complexities of these to create a comfortable space for people to feel that they can speak about these issues. 

The Burton piece was inspired by a previous piece I created, which was a large scale project based on the idea of the seven deadly sins all dining together. The table setting for the Burton piece was centred around celebration and food for the 70th anniversary Food is Art workshops. So the idea of a snapshot from a table – mid party feast – seemed very fitting. The chaotic array of dishes and snacks came directly from nostalgia from childhood birthday parties and celebrations where food was always the centre of excitement for me! 

I’m currently in my final year of university so I’m in the beginning stages of my big final unit. So I’m working through research and initial concepts for how I’m going to approach what I want to present as my final pieces next year. This year is very much centred around preparing us for post-graduate life. For me I want to continue my studies into a more specialised field so I’m looking to do a Masters in Model Making for Animation. Working on miniature models and creating clay puppets has been a practice I’ve been enjoying more recently. It’s such a vast specialist craft but nonetheless, I am extremely inspired to dedicate myself to growing this knowledge to a professional level in the hope of working in this field in the future.”

Follw Alice on Instagram here.