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Designed By Nature, Preserved By Humans:
Interview With Food Designer Elvira Bloise
by Mona Bavar & Tainá Guedes
"A seed is the expression of time: past, present and future coexist in it. It is the metaphor of every possible change."
~ Elvira Bloise
In May 2020 DLISH Magazine in partnership with FOOD ART WEEK invited artists and designers from around to world to create art using food. The FOODART Project encouraged participants to share a positive message about our planet as well as the important role each individual plays in the preservation of nature and all its blessings.
Mindful, talented artists from around the world submitted drawings, still lifes, photographs and videos to express their ideas and inspire effective change: Phina Hansen, Lígia Milagres, Iuri Kothe, Ivana Carmen Mottola, founder of Design Food House, Vidhya Kashyap and Givoanni Giorgi.
Among the many exceptionally creative submissions, on July 5, 2020 we announced the winner of the FOODART challenge - Elvira Bloise. Her work, Designed by Nature, Preserved by Humans, uses seeds placed on pedestals in order to convey the simple, yet powerful significance of nature. Bloise communicates a clear and direct message to us all – there is no art more beautiful or more important than nature and it is our innate duty to preserve this lifeline.
Can you please tell us a little about yourself.
Elvira Bloise: I come from San Nicola Arcella, a small town located in Calabria, in the South of Italy. I grew up in a big family gathering around large tables filled with simple and genuine food. My grandparents are linked to a tradition of “strictly” homemade food and strong gastronomic rituals related to farming and harvesting activities. Thanks to them I fell in love with food and its social value.
During the summers, since I was sixteen, I have worked as a waitress in my family restaurant during the summers, where my mom leads the kitchen as a chef. Working there made me conscious of how people approach food. After my Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, I decided to follow my passion and study to become a Food Designer. Thanks to my profession I can explore deeply the connection between food and people, understanding how it interacts with aesthetics, cultures and emotions.
Egg Shells Experiment by Elvira Bloise
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
EB: I find inspiration directly from materials in their essence. I always say that food is not only about food, never! As a Food Designer, I consider it a part of a circular process that involves people, cultures, territories. At the same time, it is one of the best materials to use: everything we don’t eat and we consider waste, can have a second reuse. When I look to a fruit seed, a vegetable peel or an eggshell, I always see an opportunity to create something new.
What is your objective when creating a project?
EB: When I work on a project, I always try to communicate with people. What is important to me is to transfer a meaning, a message. I can’t distinguish what I am and what I think about what I create, I realize.
How do you define FOOD ART and DESIGN in your work?
EB: The connection between art, food and design is something we experience every day, even if we don’t think about it. All three are sources of inspiration for other fields and the result of continuous contamination. Art and Design are related to the research of beauty and perfection (aesthetical and technical ones). In nature, this already exists, and the food is overall the maximum expression of natural perfection. Munari said that talking about the orange: “ The orange is, therefore, an almost perfect object in which one may observe an absolute coherence of form, function and consumption. Even the colour is exactly right.”
The Sound of Food by Elvira Bloise
Tell us a bit about the process of making the work for the DLISH / FAW challenge.
EB: The idea was to present food as an artwork. I asked myself why we define something as “artistic”. Usually, our idea of art is related to the concept of beauty or perfection, otherwise, sometimes it is enough to pretend that something is recognised as artwork, depending on the idea we associate with it, as Duchamp did with his Fountain. Putting two seeds on a pedestal is a way to affirm the artistic value of nature. But not only, it means nature needs human contribution to be preserved, in the same way that we preserve human creations in museums.
Following the idea of sustainability, to realize the pedestal I reused natural materials from previous projects. Since art exists, marble and wood are among the most used materials for artworks.
How did you come up with the sentence “Designed by Nature, Preserved by Humans.”? What do you want to communicate with this?
EB: Every artwork has a sentence that represents it. “Designed by Nature, Preserved by Humans” is an invitation to be sustainable and protective towards nature. We need to understand how much we are responsible for our future. We need to change our perspective of art: if it means that something needs to be preserved for future generations, there is nothing more important than nature. A seed is the expression of time: past, present and future coexist in it. It is the metaphor of every possible change. Art can teach us how to preserve and take care of what is precious. That’s why from Art we can learn how to take care of nature and food.
How did you discover the challenge?
Coffee Grounds - Don't Waste Food Materials by Elvira Eloise
What motivated you to participate?
EB: I decided to participate because it was a good opportunity to share my message: “people, nature needs our help!”. I guess at this moment as food designers we can have an important role as spokesmen for change. I trust in daily actions capable to change our attitude, our feelings and our way to act.
What does sustainability mean to you?
EB: We talk about sustainability every day and it seems we are really understanding how much our daily habits are changing the planet. I think nowadays the first step of sustainability is awareness. Being aware that our choices are not always sustainable helps us to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Apply sustainability is something else, it needs another essential value: altruism. It is not easy to understand that our actions and choices always have consequences on people and places far from us in time and in space. If we start to think about ourselves as part of a process that involves other lives maybe one day, we’ll respect and be respected in the same way.
Any last words?
EB: Last but not least I want to express my gratitude for DLISH and FOOD ART WEEK. Thanks to this challenge I had the opportunity to share my opinion. My wish is that readers of this article can become SEEDS of change in their daily life.
Click here to see more of Elvira Bloise's inspirational works.