Introducing this month’s innovative Artist of the Month, Tom Wolfe. As a dedicated art consultant, Katherine Maginnis is always exploring the design scene to uncover artists who work with unconventional mediums and materials in new, creative ways. Tom Wolfe is one of the world’s leading food artists, recently winning the #2 position in Architectural Digest for innovative Food Design. Having studied Fine Art at Parsons and Culinary Arts at the French Culinary Institute in New York, Tom carved out his unique role as a Chef, food designer and artist. As an experimental food artist, Tom’s immersive installation ‘Inside the Cake’ sponsored by Dom Perignon at Frieze, demonstrates the prominent part he plays in advancing the culinary art industry with mouth-watering masterpieces, edible sculptures and conceptual cuisine.
With a star-studded client list, Tom cooks for icons like Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Stella McCartney, taking his unique culinary concepts all over the world. Merging food with performance art and product design, he is often invited to art direct, exhibit, cook and style for luxury brands such as Dom Perignon, HUAWEI and Roberto Cavalli. The rise in artist collaborations across industries like this exemplify the important contribution artists make in providing their unique artistic vision in different contexts. Artists are often considered to be pioneers through their visual interpretation of society’s current social, political, economic culture, which is the reason their work is often used for creative inspiration. Often that influence came from the work of deceased artists, but we are now seeing a growing trend for creative directors, across all industries and platforms, to work alongside living artists to develop products, installations for immersive events, product launches and to enhance and transform interior and exterior spaces. Having exhibited, creative catered and performed for bluechip clients around the world, Tom’s current focus is on creating spectacular installations at exhibitions and events combining aesthetic and sensory experience in a contemporary marriage between the culinary and creative fields.
Tom’s work is informed by his fascination for time and place, and the role that sensory experience plays in evoking memories. While art largely relies on the visual senses, Tom seeks to activate the viewer’s sense of smell and taste to create immersive and performative works to draw out the meaning and cultural history of food. With Las Bolos de Costa Rica (July 2017) he created an edible chocolate landscape exploring the mysterious megalithic stone spheres of the Diquís Delta. Chocolate, sponge cake, fresh mint and gold leaf were transformed into soil, rivers and land forms, with mousse-filled chocolate representing the giant stone balls.
As an industry, the art world is witnessing the growth in open-access art. More and more artists like Tom Wolfe are creating work not purposed for museums or white box galleries; this shift makes art more accessible with the rise of immersive events. Tom’s inspiring works with food demonstrate this experiential shift in the way art can be presented and conveyed to modern audiences, from Couture wearable food trays, edible landscapes, Modernist afternoon tea to his ‘Inside the Cake’ immersive installations and live interactive chocolate performances.