Sweet Street Art: Sugar Murals

Montreal artist Shelley Miller creates intricate murals with sugar icing and edible paint applied like cake frosting, with a piping bag and tip. The street art starts out solid, but eventually disintegrates or washes away in the rain.

The installation above – called Stained – in Victoria, B.C., reflects the historic area’s ornate Victorian architecture.  Miller says the title alludes to “sugar’s stained historical links to slavery.”  Below, a sequence showing the disintegration of Cargo in Montreal (Duke St. at William St.)  66” × 138” at Day 1, Day 4, Day 5 and Day 7.

Above, installing Cargo / Below, detail of Cargo, a billboard in the style of a traditional Portuguese ceramic “azulejo.” Miller paints white sugar tiles with the blue edible paint, and affixes them with icing, then pipes the edges.

Below, Pipe Dreams in Montreal — cake icing applied to the side of an industrial building in a project that took two weeks to install.  The final shot shows close-up detail at one week, six weeks and 12 weeks.

Shelley Miller does a wide variety of other public art installations, including moulded concrete and quilt-inspired designs in ceramic and glass mosaic.

Her sculptures and public works have been exhibited across Canada, India and Brazil.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design and a Masters in Fine Arts from Concordia University, Montreal.

Shelley Miller’s website, here.

Her project / progress blog, here.

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There are 20 comments

  1. Jean

    I guess the artist deals with her disappearing art ….like really a gastranomic sculpture of a cake that takes hrs. but disappears ..after it’s eaten. Lives in the stomach memory of time.

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  2. hariqhuang

    Super beautiful! I wonder why they did not do it indoors. I do realize that street art is supposed to be displayed out there but shouldn’t there be some consideration about the materials, etc? But then again, nothing lasts forever, I guess in the end its fragility became one of its most interesting points. Btw, It’s still hard for me to believe that it was made of edible stuff!!!

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    1. boomerontario

      I know what you mean about the edible paint side of it. Agree. I’m with you on the indoor vs outdoor question as well. I think you hit it exactly with your thought that the fragility is what makes it interesting. Thanks for taking the time to say so.

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  3. anngrafics

    I would be pained, personally, to watch my intricate creation disappear, but then again I don’t possess the talent to recreate stuff like this! I think watching it fall apart and fade is an exceptional part of her process and I love seeing the shots over time. It means more that it is transient, many separate works over the life of one project.

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  4. boomerontario

    It’s interesting that numerous people (all three of you, for example) have similar reactions to the disintegration of these works. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Her other works (glass ceramics, moulded concrete, other creations) are permanent, though, so perhaps that allows the drive for permanence to lag in these works?

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