“cucumber shamu”


Cute on the outside, clever on the inside. Yum! Ok, I may have just copied and pasted every piece of art on the website of Kentucky based artist Lori Larusso. Can you blame me? I mean come on… cucumber Shamu cut from metal and then painted perfectly!? I’ve written about several of Lori’s series, and at face value they’re funny, sweet, retro-looking food art. But I knew there was more to them, and I was so excited to finally talk to Lori and get the inside scoop! Listen right up there under Shamu, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, her most recent series that will be showing {March 3} at the James May Gallery in Wisconsin, “Eating Animals”:


Those broccoli dogs. So good… and an excellent point about food consumption – kids think broccoli is gross, but if it looks like a dog it’s on the menu! Hm. Funny, weird, smart.

I grabbed these shots from Lori’s Instagram feed, so you can truly see how cool they are. Cut metal, beautifully painted and floating on the wall … or sitting on her table, depending how far along they are!:


Next, yet another of her ongoing series that I’m totally in love with – “It’s Not My Birthday, That’s Not My Cake”:


Love! And of course, the aftermath. A few of my favorites from Lori’s “Afterparty” series:


“Broken Heart, Plastic Plate”. Oh my word, I love it so much.

Alright, moving on to the first pieces of hers that I ever wrote about. These beautifully cut {um, jigsaw goddess!} interiors are part of Lori’s “Shapes” series:


Aaaah! I loved them years ago, and I love them just as much now! Ok, I had a lot of saw questions mainly because I’m pretty scared of power tools. She does have a few pieces that she borrowed a laser cutter type thing for… the drippy ice cream, and that apple peel for example:


Yeah. If she did that with a jigsaw… well… I don’t even know.

Now, brace yourself. Hopefully you won’t be offended by what you see next:


Yes. That’s a cigarette beside that half-eaten cupcake, and cup o joe. Gasp!

Moving on to something a little more tame. BUTTER. So. Much. Butter:


Yay! So glad I asked her about this, because the butter is no longer on her site. I’ve remedied that – she promised she’ll put the butter back on. And there is Chef Tanya at the University of Kentucky who made one of Lori’s butter paintings into a delicious little yellow cake. YUM!

I totally set Lori up for this not-so-speedy speed round question too, mainly just so I could show you the paintings from her “Bourbon” series:


Oh those cherries, the orange twists, the reflections on the glassware! I know Lori says she likes her bourbon ‘neat’, but those garnishes are fabulous, no?

And finally, she couldn’t track down the photo of herself {at age five} dressed as an artist for Halloween, but that’s ok because look what her mom sent through!


Awwww! Little Lori and her 3rd birthday cake. And because we were both deprived sugary treats when we were little, I thought I’d surround that photo with her favorite accessory… maraschino cherries! HA! Thank you soooo much to Lori for telling us the stories behind her work; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode; and high fives to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Golden Paints
  2. French cleat (how-to!)
  3. University of Kentucky show
  4. “Eating Animals”, March 3 at James May Gallery, WI
  5. KMAC
  6. Porter Contemporary, NY
  7. Jordan Faye Contemporary, Baltimore
  8. Skidmore Contemporary, Santa Monica


comments (7)

  1. Kimberly Morelli /// 02.24.2017 /// 10:46pm

    Too f’ing cute! I love the play of light and shadow. Just fantastic pieces!

  2. marianne clancy /// 02.25.2017 /// 8:25am

    beautiful almost edible art! love these!!

  3. Julie /// 02.25.2017 /// 11:38pm

    Beautiful work and I loved hearing how Lori eloquently talks about it. Her devotion to art is inspiring.

  4. Caren /// 02.27.2017 /// 10:57am

    I Love the bold colors, lines and shadows of these!

  5. Morgan /// 02.27.2017 /// 1:56pm

    Listening to this podcast on repeat because Lori’s story feels so similar to my own. From going to an interdisciplinary grad school program because I didn’t want to be stuck doing one thing, to avoiding certain subject matter in school because I didn’t want to defend it, and then being post-grad school and allowing myself to do what I want, even if it’s “cute” and illustrative, because I don’t have a committee to answer to. Her attitude towards art making has me feeling so pumped!

  6. the jealous curator /// 02.28.2017 /// 11:06am

    hooray!!!! (and, me too!)

  7. Elissa S Nesheim /// 03.02.2017 /// 9:34am

    I absolutely love these paintings. Especially how everything floats in space and the surface is implied… strangely how food appears in my head. yummy.

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