Artist Hannah Rothstein has always been fascinated by taking commonplace things and turning them on their heads -- see her " Superhero Mugshots" series, featuring Batman and other heroes getting booked, for a perfect example. So, her latest "Thanksgiving Special" will be of no surprise to anyone who follows her career.
"I thought of doing an illustration that showcased famous artists' brushstrokes," Rothstein told HLN. "I soon realized that'd be boring as a bad lecture and began to think about how I could apply that concept in an unusual medium. Thanksgiving, since it was just a few weeks away, popped into my mind and my 'Aha!' moment was born."
From Van Gogh to Warhol (see her site for her full series), her meticulous re-interpretations look both playful and delicious.
"I started my scheming by thinking of traditional Thanksgiving foods and then thought about which ones would plate and shape well," Rothstein said. "I also aimed for a good balance of color and texture."
Rothstein sketched the plates first, then spent a day gathering her ingredients. She said the dishes took about an hour a piece to prepare. Some were relatively simple to create, while others required painstaking arrangement.
"Some, like the Rothko dish, I could prepare at NASCAR speed," she said. "Others, like the Seurat, were a lot more laborious. I spent quite some time tweezer-ing little bits of mashed potato!"
Rothstein said that while she could have created the photos digitally, analog art is her "jam," and added, "Anyhow, who doesn't want to play with their food?"
And, as for that food-on-the face piece meant to mimic Cindy Sherman's work? It was a two-man job. She invited a friend over to serve as her "unwitting assistant."
"He didn't miss a beat when I asked him, 'Can you take a break to put food all over my face?'" she said.
So what did Rothstein do with all the leftover food? She composted it, of course. Turns out she's not just artistic. She's also green.
"At the end, I composted all the food, edited the photos and gave myself a high five!" Rothstein said.