British artist Lennie Payne captures fame on toast

Tue May 18, 2010 7:13am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dominique Vidalon

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British artist Lennie Payne says he first thought about working with bread after making shapes with toast to entertain his daughter at breakfast.

That was 14 years ago, now the 46 year-old Payne is selling his portraits of famous faces such as Kate Moss or Barack Obama branded onto slices of bread for at least 5,000 pounds ($7,734) a piece.

Payne's artwork, some 28 paintings, will be on display through May 25 at the Maverik gallery in East London's Shoreditch at a show named "Where Is The Love?."

Payne views bread as an exciting, constantly changing medium and as a metaphor for "the basic human need for survival and a great way to look into the spirituality of every day life" he told Reuters while putting the finishing touches to the show.

Many of the works on display are portraits of rock musicians such as Ian Brown or Noel Gallagher but the show also features a Gandhi portrait as well as anonymous faces of starving people.

It is both a meditation on the obsession of the media with celebrity and an attempt to reveal the human being behind the famous face. There is for instance a striking black and white portrait of a haunted-looking Amy Winehouse.

Born in 1964, in Hammersmith, London, Payne is no stranger to human sufferings. Adopted when he was a child by a very religious family, he was diagnosed with epilepsy during his teens. When the fits worsened, he sought refuge in drugs and alcohol. Prison and depression followed.

Through the ordeal, he says he kept a burning desire to create. Self-taught, he experimented with many mediums before turning to toast art.   Continued...