Kazuma Sambe, Tucson, Arizona
Advertising has a strong influence on how we perceive food, and what emotions we ascribe to brands and to specific types of food. Kazuma Sambe uses humor and surrealist substitution to ask viewers to question the ways that the reality of the origins of food differ from the construct created when food is turned into a consumer product. Through unexpected contrasts, he asks what idealized food imagery says about our cultures.
Sambe combines recreations of recognizable forms, like waffle cones and egg-white cartons, with stylized, somewhat unsettling renderings of both real and mythical animals that writhe, stretch, twist free, or spill out of their containers. The containers’ marketing copy and imagery communicate uniformity, and the promise of something satisfying, while the emerging figures have a menacing, foreboding aura.
The coloration and illustrations used on various elements further the narrative. The packaging appears the way you might expect, with a marketing team’s eye for branding and messaging, and colors that pull your attention to specific elements of the design. The figures are brightly colored or starkly white, exaggerated versions of real or mythical creatures, from roosters and chickens to serpent-like dragons. Their stark contrast helps set them apart from their mundane containers.