By Hayley Thomas
Studios on the Park will offer up a “locovore love affair” during the first-ever Eat Your Heart Out exhibit running Jan. 30 through Feb. 23. Serving as the nonprofit's only juried show of 2014, the special exhibition will showcase original artwork inspired by many an appetite’s object of affection. Submissions are welcomed in all styles and media inspired by the theme, “love and food.”
For Studios on the Park resident artist Joe Thomas, food offers up a way to communicate and express himself not unlike putting pencil to paper.
“Food is so ingrained in my memory; as a family, we always sat down and had a meal together,” said Thomas. “My grandmother always said, 'If you love someone, you cook for someone.”
Thomas worked with Studios on the Park to create the first-ever show, which brings together local artists and top culinary talent.
Paso Robles chefs Chris Kobayashi of Artisan, Santos MacDonal of Il Cortile, and Laurent Grangien of Bistro Laurent will judge the artwork for personal vision, creative approach and execution.
“We really wanted to do something different – something that reflects what makes Paso Robles unique,” added Thomas. “The linking of food, wine and fine art all come together beautifully.”
Thomas noted that although the chef judges boast different culinary styles, all share a love of Paso Robles.
“These chefs could have gone anywhere, but they chose to be in Paso Robles,” said Thomas. “All of the [chef judges] love this area... They also share a passion for what they do, and are artists in their own way.”
According to Thomas, many of the chefs are stepping out of their own comfort zones to judge the artwork.
“The chefs were very humbled,” said Thomas. “I hope [the show] will encourage more and more people to look at art and food and see it as being all from the same pot.”
Prizes include restaurant gift certificates to the chefs respective eateries, bottles of Thomas Hill Vineyards wine and a $500 Editha Spencer Memorial Award.
Thomas said he's looking forward to seeing what pops out of artists' hungry imaginations.
“Everyone has their own take on the theme, and that makes it really interesting,” he said. “Through food, all the senses culminate into a specific experience. I hope that artists will interweave their own personal stories or narratives into their work.”
Depending on the response, the exhibition could become part of a greater push to meld the culinary and art worlds in Paso Robles, according to organizers.
That, according to Thomas, would be a truly tasty treat.
“One of my art teachers in Chicago told us that to be a better painter, you have to be a better cook,” Thomas said with a chuckle. “He always said 'make your paintings look delicious.'”
Intake of show artwork will take place on Jan. 26 and jurying will take place the following day. Pick-up of non-selected artwork is scheduled for Jan. 28.
Special reproductions of the winning artwork will be given to donors at the annual February Sweet Art Fundraiser Luncheon at Studios on the Park, honoring Paso Robles community leader Dale Gomer. Artwork may also be featured in the live auction portion of the event. Net proceeds of the fundraiser will benefit the 2014 Festival of the Arts, a program of Studios on the Park. For tickets or more information on the Eat Your Heart Out show, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 238-9800.