In the mid-nineties of the 20th century, the American and European art institutions started to use the Internet for the exhibition and promotion of their artworks, creating the websites which usually included a logo and a short text. The development and distribution of the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) called the durability and efficiency of the traditional distribution of modern art into the question forever. The features of the WWW, namely the opportunity to work with the digital video, audio, text, and image located on various remote servers are commonly used by the great number of art institutions worldwide. Although the galleries, museums, and centers of the modern art continue to work in the usual mode in a real-life and have the rights to create an opinion about art in society and culture of the state, modern electronic means of communication are also added to their activity. In this case, it is possible to call the Internet to be the reflection of reality. After all, websites of art organizations continue to develop already existing systems of the art life but in cyberspace. Thus, any artist can become famous and most cited and discussed for several months irrespective of the performed art (Deroy, Michel, Piqueras-FiszmaIntroductionn, & Spence, 2014). The Frenchwoman, Vivi Mac, started drawing by means of the usual foodstuff, having blown up the Internet by her creativity. Although there are only photos left from her perishable pictures, the century of the developed information technologies allows the artist to share the creations with the millions of people due to the Internet worldwide.
The genre of food art – the compositions of food elements – was born in Japan. Food art is an absolutely new direction of modern art. It is the art of painting with the use of different food products. The artists, applying this technique, evoke not only the physiological taste feelings but also the aesthetic senses. The food art helps its followers to eat with eyes (Deroy et al., 2014).
The works of Vivi Mac belong to the speed painting technique. Speed painting is the type of painting which arose in the 1990s. The creation of a picture in this technique is limited to a certain small period of time. The way in which such portraits are created differs from the traditional one by the lack of preliminary preparation preceding the creation of pictures, which is without the preliminary sketches. Moreover, the task of the artist is reduced to the creation of the full-fledged realistic picture without preliminary preparation and in short terms, using paints and a canvas. Such works have “unpolished” appearance, thereby emphasizing the importance of each dab executed on canvas.
There is also a great number of other artists, popular in certain circles, who also use food products as the main material for the creations; for example, “coffee” artist Cara Eland; Elizabeth Rogay, who paints with only wine; the American Kelly McCollam, recreating the well-known classical pictures by means of spices and food dyes. However, Vivi Mac surpasses all of them in this genre. For her pictures, she uses everything she has in her kitchen: milk, crème brûlée or rum to usual chewing gum (Deroy et al., 2014).
Similar to the majority of the modern masters, Vivi Mac did not study at art school. The congenital talent helped her to seize art subtleties. Also, she used the information, placed in the social networks and various blogs, as the theoretical part of paintings. At the beginning of her art career, she was trained to create the drawings by means of a ball pen but understood that she wanted to try something more extraordinary. She tried body art but did not fall in love with it. However, as soon as the girl was engaged in the drawings by means of liquids, she got support from the side of Internet users. Bruce Lee from milk and Mona Lisa from a barbecue sauce, Dalai Lama from a chocolate drink and Jack Sparrow from rum – these works appeared among the YouTube rating (Vivi Mac, 2012).
Despite not having any formal art training, France-based freelance artist Vivi Mac has created a series of incredible celebrity portraits using anything from chocolate milk to crushed ice. She first started with speed painting and body painting, but it was only after “she began experimenting with various foods that her art got serious coverage”. (Food & Beverages News, 2013)
Vivi Mac does not need the habitual paints and canvases for the creation of food masterpieces. Trays and plates serve as the sheets of paper, and milk, various sauces, crushed ice, and even rum serve as paints and pencils. The artist works both with liquids and cereals, using a straw. Using such extraordinary things, she can ideally depict the finest face features. Vivi Mac uses the negative space, drawing the lines of faces of the well-known characters and cult persons in details. Despite the use of seemingly unsuitable materials for these works, such portraits are incredibly realistic and detailed (Vivi Mac, 2012).
The Critical Discussion and Evaluation of the Works of Vivi Mac
The artworks of Vivi Mac belong to the food-art direction in the fine arts. There are a lot of portraits in her creative moneybox. Her pictures are simple at first sight; however, in each of them, there is something touching the soul of each viewer and remaining in the memory for a long time. The contemplation of pictures created by the food products generates the feeling of the invigorating novelty in the soul of each viewer. The world around presented by milk or sugar looks absolutely in a new way, and this new view on the habitual things allows opening surprising things not only in daily reality but also in own soul.
The pictures of Vivi Mac do not cause a feeling of artificiality. The images created by the artist are fresh and truthful, differ in ease and purity. There is the virtuosity of a brush of the painter in them. How is such a tremendous authenticity achieved? While working on her pictures, Vivi Mac uses a highly perfected technique of reflexes. This graphic method assumes a careful mastering of small, but important details of the composition. Moreover, correctly placed light accents deserve special attention. They do the image on a tray or plate live and a little solemn. The light sources are located in such a way so it frames the picture. The light in a picture is scattered and soft; it is as if aimed to attract attention to the main features of the painted faces of prominent people (Vivi Mac, 2012).
The Feelings and Emotions Evoked by the Mac’s Pictures
When I see the pictures of Vivi Mac or the videos of her process of painting, I receive the information in the form of feelings – as if at the communication to the people. If I could have the possibility to communicate with the people depicted in the pictures, I would not be able to understand the characteristic features of a person. However, when I see the portrait, created by Vivi Mac, I experience the unusual feelings and emotions, transferring the important features of a definite personage, his or her sincere story about life. In the digital variant, it is difficult to feel it from the pictures, but when I write comments on the picture, I experience the same feelings, which Vivi Mac had while painting a new portrait.
Any picture carries a print, a mold of the depicted personality, who created it. The Vivi Mac’s pictures can be read, listened and perceived without touching. It is rather a new kind of art perception. Looking at the portraits, I identify people as the essence with a set of interesting lines, emotions, energy, intuition as though I read. The communication with the pictures through the Internet is a bit difficult, but, having based on the reasonable perception and intuition, I can easily understand the whole range of thoughts and emotions, which the artist had during the process of writing. The photos, of course, facilitate this understanding, but only partly, sometimes they display a momentary mood, not a true character.
To sum up, the sphere of art had not been recognized for a long time, as was the exclusively spiritual and cultural value of people. The art objects were self-valuable, educated society and enriched the cultural heritage. The works of art were not of the economic value, and the financial support of the sphere of culture happened at the expense of patrons, charity foundations, and also budgetary funds of the countries. However, the twenty-first century became a new step in the development of the art market. Due to the globalization such directions of the bases of human activity as virtualization, informatization and mediatization appeared, and the interpersonal communications were changed. Being one of the directions of modern art, food art passes the period from the emergence up to the recognition of a separate direction. The art of Vivi Mac is a vivid example of the extraordinary creativity of the person, who could skillfully combine the aspects of the usual painting art with the modern art trends and newest digital technologies. Thus, it is possible to draw a conclusion that the food art of a portrait in the cultural, social and art conditionality is a sensitive measurer of a condition of society and the place of a person in it.