3D digital artist Ben Chelouche impeccably renders bits of food to resemble things that they are not. Sometimes it's their name, spelled out in their organic form, others it’s a bit of food manipulated into shapes thought impossible in real-life. Whatever it is he’s doing, it’s making our mouth’s water.
Working out of California, a melting pot for global gastronomy, where the tropical meets the local, the raw and the processed, variety is the spice of life and, likewise, is the thrust of Chelouche’s work. The artist draws on foods from near and afar, exploring the possibilities of colour and form, of what the food could be as much as what it actually is.
Stating that “I like to experiment with different styles and techniques to create something that cannot exist in real life,” the works are certainly things that couldn’t exist in real life, at least in terms of physics, but look as real as could be in terms of his renderings - so much so that many of them would cause a double-take if we were just scrolling through a timeline.
In his ‘S T E A K’ piece, the marbled fat almost ripples throughout the slice of meat with the kind of colouring and texture present in a prime cut of wagyu. In other pieces, we see a pop tart forming a ‘P’, something not entirely unbelievable but able to generate enough of a sense of cognitive dissonance to stop us in our tracks and zoom in, wondering if it really is a custom-baked marvel or some kind of digital illusion.
The answer in all of his pieces is ‘otherwise’. They’re never real, but are some of the best design flexes and experiments we’ve seen. All this on an Instagram page that has been inactive since 2019, a sad sign considering the potential for a project like this. Technology in design has advanced in the couple of years that has elapsed since then too, making us salivate at the possibilities of what he could be doing now.
When the rare moments occurs that creativity and technical talent coalesce, the results are often as awe-inducing as these pieces. More often than not, individuals can have either one in abundance, with the two together being that bit more rare. Having produced one of the most delicious alphabets we’ve ever seen, hopefully Chelouche is still producing work as interesting as this and, hopefully, in the future, we see a return to an online platform where we can keep up to date with his latest creations.
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