Art is shaped by a person’s life experiences and I am no different. When I was a youngster, cereal was a luxury item. A brand name cereal was a rarity in our house as they were consistently more expensive. Something like King Vitamin (a popular 70’s cereal) or Cap’n Crunch made for pure breakfast heaven as a child. On a recent trip to the grocery store, there sat King Vitamin next to a new version of Cap’n Crunch, Choco Donuts. Looking at the rest of the cereal aisle, it is clear that breakfast cereal has changed from mere nutrition to sheer entertainment. The cereal aisle has become a cornucopia of vibrantly colored marshmallows that resemble people and objects and characters from movies, as if they were calling out to have their portraits taken, to be the center of attention. However, on the other side of the aisle sits the more ‘adult’ cereals (i.e. fiber, bran). Having lived in Arizona for over 35 years, those cereals upon close inspection resemble some of the shapes and colors and textures of the southwestern desert. I began to construct landscapes that would utilize the natural earth tones of certain cereals. I placed enlarged photographs of actual Arizona skies in the background of the cereal landscapes giving the final image an odd sense of reality.
I took a few years off from the world of Cerealism to pursue other photography projects. As I’ve gotten older, I still find breakfast cereal fascinating on a visual level even though I don’t eat as much cereal as I used to. Cereal provides me with the perfect vehicle to examine some of what it is that people eat and derive joy from: is it food, is it entertainment, is it nourishment, is it really a dessert or is it all of the above? From the frosting-like coating that covers the marshmallows to the brightly colored cereals that turn milk a variety of pastel hues other than white, it is apparent that cereal is not just for breakfast anymore. Cereal has evolved into pop culture objects instead of just nutritious corn pops.