At Pinch, we often get asked: “What comes first, the food or the design?” The honest answers is Chef Bob and I do not have a formula to our creative process. It’s never the same, it ebbs and flows, and we never take ourselves too seriously. Our collaboration routinely uses humor as the brainstorming catapult to bring delight and surprise to our team, clients, and partiers.
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And thus, we admire the humor sprinkled throughout the work of New York-born artist Sam Keller. This RISD grad explains how he enjoys “taking something familiar and twisting it into something that makes you look twice.” From Cheetos sculptures to Swarovski adorned crushed cans, you cannot help but chuckle or smile when you come across these works – we did. By employing the effective technique of humor, Keller is able to make light of heavier topics, including junk food consumption and capitalism’s grip on society. “Laughter is the best medicine,” he explains, “especially if the world is going to shit and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
As a food designer that frequently finds inspiration walking the aisles of a hardware store or flea market, I was amused to discover that after the pandemic hit, and people only left the house for groceries, Sam began to treat the supermarket as an art supply store. “It only takes two large bags (of Cheetos) to make a ‘Cheetosphere’ sculpture, so from a practical standpoint, a vitrine to protect one of those is the most expensive component,” he explains. “I’m always looking for new objects and materials to incorporate into my practice while continuing to evolve my existing ideas and interests. I feel like I’m chasing an indescribable vision in my mind, and I’ll only know when I get there.”