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Promoting Croatia Through Edible Art

BITE ART (Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

BITE ART – take a bite of artistic pepper cookies by Ana Šerić, wrapped in a sophisticated frame with artworks of renowned Croatian artists.

Artist Ana Šerić has created an interactive souvenir BITE ART which harmoniously unites artistic pepper cookies, a Croatian favourite, with artwork reproductions in an innovative package.

The package, on the other hand, after the treat has been consumed, transforms into a picture frame each containing 4 reproductions of renowned Croatian artists.

Edible pepper cookie – Paprenjak – art (Photo Credit: Stela Kovačić)

The first collection of this socially engaged project saw the works of artists belonging to a younger generation – Ana Kolega, Hrvoje Majer, OKO and Marko Tadić, as well as masterpieces of the eminent Croatian artists Ivan Rabuzin and Vlaho Bukovac.

Work by Ana Kolega & Hrvoje (Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

BITE ART is a follow-up to Ana Šerić’s artistic career concerned with edible art, by which she brings forth the irony of today’s art consumption asking the questions “What is art?” and “Who is it for?” She has successfully developed an art concept into a multilayer product called BITE ART, whose goal is to promote Croatian art to a wider public.

Work by Ivan Rabuzin & Marko Tadić (Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

As a product, BITE ART can serve as a perfect corporate or diplomatic gift or souvenir, while it can also be used as a decoration in small interior spaces. The branding and design of the BITE ART package are designed by Izvorka Jurić’s Design Bureau, and they gracefully convey the background and mood of the artist’s work, as well as Ana Šerić’s original concept. She, however, with its very title, celebrates and satirises art at the same time.

At the moment BITE ART is available on the project’s Facebook page, and also in the Take me home design shop (Tomić street, Zagreb).

The BITE ART collection comprises six products, every one of which portrays one of the selected artists. With this selection for her first collection, the project’s author Ana Šerić wanted to present the diversity of artistic genres and expressions – from the topics artists choose to explore to the style they employ, including as well their life stories.

Work by OKO and Vlaho Bukovac (Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

Since 2010 Šerić has organised a series of exhibitions around the topic of “edible art” or reactions to the works of her fellow artists. Realizing that there’s a need for spreading the idea of art as an irony in itself, she has developed a concept of a product/gift/souvenir which should serve not only as an object but also as a means of introducing the Croatian art to the public at large while enabling them to take an active role in this project.

“BITE ART is a socially engaged project which presents Croatian fine artists, while at the same time asking the questions – What is art? and Who is it for? Not doubting the fact that art is an elite discipline, BITE ART inspires the public to experience art through an accessible medium. By making puns in the very title of the project and by introducing treats to art, I celebrate and satirise art at the same time. Finally, that is every artwork’s goal: to be thought-provoking and to spark active engagement.

(Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

The key here is not only the product, namely a package with 4 pepper cookies inside but also the collaboration with the artists who in this way talk to the public. Hence, every package has an enclosed certificate of authenticity for artworks and was approved by artists themselves, or in the case of Ivan Rabuzin – by his heir Mr. Damir Rabuzin.

“While creating the concept of pepper cookies I didn’t confine myself to the traditional Croatian recipes, instead I wanted to create a unique recipe so that the pepper cookies can follow up the art and become pepper cookies with a character. Characterized by a refined taste of a pleasant combination of as many as ten exotic spices, they have been created in association with Dubravka Novotni and Lidija Drobac from the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology,” says Ana Šerić in her short introduction of the BITE ART project.

Ana Šerić (Photo credit: Marija Gašparović)

Hrvoje Majer has joined the project because of its original commercial approach to the promotion of Croatian art, “BITE ART” perfectly embodies the problem which gives rise to every potential buyer’s dilemma – are they going to consume it very quickly, literally eat the purchased artwork or are they simply going to let it live as an artwork which tells its stories and calls for meditation and access to a different kind of feelings.

That is to say, due to the consumeristic conditioning, today’s individual consumes art as a product. While throughout history art was calling for contemplation, deep pondering and higher feelings – art today is something that has been devoured hastily and without making too many questions, it is followed by a search for new potential products to consume.

Street artist OKO points out that in her opinion BITE ART is a quality way of introducing art to a wide range of people through an accessible form, “This project spreads the idea of art to people who are unfamiliar with Croatian art and find original artworks outside their budgets. BITE ART accounts for making a small share of the magic available to them now. In Ana Kolega’s view the project has a multilayer meaning, “Although a souvenir at the first glance, it also poses a social question – Can art today bring home the bacon? In any case, I believe this is going to bring fine arts closer to the public at large.“

THE BRANDING AND DESIGN OF THE BITE ART PACKAGE

The brand itself conveys the form of the pepper cookies, which, in terms of graphic design, seems like a frame and makes an intervention in the “bitten” spot illustrating thus the name of the product quite literally – take a bite of art. The bitten pepper cookie on the package front cover communicates the brand’s idea, while its graphic form can later be used as a frame for the presented artwork. “The package itself consists of a cover, protective foam padding, certificate of artwork authenticity, and sturdy base unit containing the collection of four pepper cookies. Having eaten the treat, one is left with the sturdy base unit (the box) functioning as a freestanding frame for four artwork reproductions.

Thus it becomes a charming part of one’s interior, trip souvenir or beloved gift, which adds value to the product. The sides have been designed as books given the fact that here it is really about more profound content than its wrapping or mere glance at the product may suggest. Thus, the author’s name, brand and project’s title have been made prominent on one side while the other one displays a broadly cut segment of the artwork.

Artists (Photo Credit: Marija Gašparović)

The biggest challenge while branding the BITE ART product was to find the right balance between art presentation and commercial market strategy. Since the main idea of the whole project is to make art more popular and bring it closer to a wider range of people, it was crucial to tell the story about the project as well as to make its idea far-reaching.

At the same time, it was necessary to put the product in a noticeable spot, give it a needed priority and communicate it as a distinguished “treat” on the market – because this product is at the same time a socially engaged project.” – said Izvorka Jurić, the art director of Izvorka Jurić’s Design Bureau that signs the branding and design of the Bite Art package.

(Photo credit: Stela Kovačić)

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE “ART BITE” PROJECT

Ana Šerić’s idea of the ART BITE project is a platform using a web page to keep both Croatian and world public informed about the activities of the Croatian artists whose works have been included in the project’s collection. Moreover, the creation of products with a single pepper cookie and a single artwork reproduction in an accordingly fitted package is underway.

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