Just Opened! Designer Combines Hand-Lettering and Bay Area Cuisine in New Art Show

Bok choy, asparagus, avocado, chicken parts...and a talented sign painter. Mash it up and what do you get? Berkeley artist Heather Diane Hardison's delicious new show, Illustrated Bites, at the Curiosity Shoppe. 

Hardison, who works as a designer/sign painter for New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco, was recently inspired to take her illustrated food blog from the digital to the tangible. The results? Bright, playful, graphic new works with a pinch of vintage.

Image courtesy Heather Diane Hardison

What can folks visiting your show expect to see? 
Hardison: Hand-painted signs celebrating delicious food! There are illustrated recipes, meat diagrams, paintings of vegetables, and a lot of hand-lettering. There’s also a set of limited-edition screen prints for sale. The inspiration behind my show is Illustrated Bites, my illustrated food blog all about home cooking and Bay Area cuisine. I love combining my interests, so I decided to represent it in the real world though the medium of sign painting. 

Image courtesy Heather Diane Hardison

How did you get into food illustration?
Hardison: I've been drawing food for about a year and a half and I started doing it because I was getting really interested in cooking. I had just moved into a new apartment, and for the first time I had my own kitchen, and started cooking and baking like crazy. I bought some inspiring cook books and wanted to make all of it. Somewhere along the line, I started sketching my dinners. 

Image courtesy Heather Diane Hardison

What excites you about illustrating food?
Hardison: Drawing food slows you down and makes you appreciate your dinners at a deeper level. It prevents you from just eating on the go. I'm also super interested in process, so illustrating cooking skills or recipes is a good way to explore the process behind your dinner. 

Image courtesy Heather Diane Hardison

Which do you prefer: Cooking it, drawing it, or eating it? 
Hardison: Oh, all of the above. When it comes to doing food illustration, I think all three are integral parts of the process. If you're just drawing the food, then you don't get to experience it, and if you're just cooking you don't get to explain it, and if your only eating the food then you don't get to appreciate what went into making it. Of course, sometimes it's nice to just have someone make dinner for you. 

Image courtesy Heather Diane Hardison

Illustrated Bites runs through May 25 at the Curiosity Shoppe.

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