Q&A: How does food inspire your creativity?

At Minted, we believe inspiration is everywhere—you just have to look for it. With Thanksgiving a few days away, we’ve been thinking not only about challenging situations we’re thankful for but also, well, food.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, artists Rebecca Bowen, Ariel Rutland, and Ann Gardner share stories of how the simple act of enjoying food inspires them.

Rebecca Bowen
Dallas, Texas

I have a strong affinity for food. I mean, I really love food.

Food has shaped all of my favorite vacations, childhood memories, holidays, family meals, and every party I’ve ever hosted or attended. The Food Channel is always on in my house, and my children and I are glued to it.

I’m never without a snack and a tasty beverage at arm’s reach. I cannot say that I am great at cooking, but I do love dreaming up my own creations. My mother just so happens to be the best cook on earth, meshing together her Italian heritage and my father’s Arabic side—we never had a bad meal.

My favorite pastime, aside from designing, is seeking out new restaurants. The whole experience of eating is exciting to me. It’s about eclectic atmospheres and well designed menus, colorful cocktails, and a wonderful aroma in the air. I especially love places that put a lot of creativity into their menu. Pairing unusual food groups in unique ways. I love spicy cocktails, and bacon hidden in my desserts.

Glamour” notebook by Rebecca Bowen

I tend to approach food as I do designs—there must always be something different or unusual thrown in. It must be true to itself yet somehow be set apart from the rest and it does not need to be clouded up with unnecessary ingredients. And like design, the food must be visually interesting. It must be beautiful enough to take a photo of and share it with the world.

Wine-Thirty” Cocktail Party Online Invitation by Rebecca Bowen

All About That Joy” holiday photo card by Rebecca Bowen

Ariel Rutland
Princeton, New Jersey

During the holiday season, I love to make lemon yogurt cake. It’s an old standby that gets me into the wintry spiritespecially when it’s time to dust the top with snowy powdered sugar, which is the perfect opportunity to turn out a festive sugary design.

For this powdered-sugar design, I took the wreath illustration I created for “Winter Joy Wreath” in Illustrator and printed it large on a standard printer paper. Then I painstakingly cut it out with an Exacto knife, and voila! It became a stencil. I laid the stencil over the cake and dusted the sugar on top then lifted off the stencil to reveal the design.

Winter Joy Wreath” self-launch A2 card by Ariel Rutland

Clockwise from top: “Merrily Christmas mini card” gift tag; “Winter Merry Bright” self-launch A2 card; “Geo New Year” self-launch A2 card; “Hanukkah paper cutout card

Ann Gardner
Irving, Texas

When I was young, the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the house around the holidays. It was a signal that it was officially the holiday season. The time I spent with my mom in the kitchen brought out a love of creating from scratch. From homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to decorating holiday cookies, making things with my hands inspired me to create—and of course, enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A must-have baked good with my family during the holidays is fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking…fruitcake? But my mom’s is so good, chock-full of fruit and just enough batter to hold everything together. And so fresh and moist. Not your typical store-bought fruitcake. As I was working on holiday designs this year, her fruitcake popped into my head, and I saw that great photo of two kids making faces. It seemed like a perfect combination for a fun holiday design.

Holiday Fruitcakes” Christmas photo card by Ann Gardner

The Night Before” holiday photo cards by Ann Gardner

How does food, drink, or a particular meal inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
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Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published November 23, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

  1. Susie

    LOVE these stories! I’m jealous of that beautiful sugar stencil, and also super hungry…