“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. It is apparent that cereal is not just for breakfast anymore. Cereal has evolved into pop culture objects instead of just nutritious corn pops.
I took a few years off from the world of Cerealism to pursue other photography projects. During that time, I experienced some changes in my health that forced me to examine what I was eating and change the foods that I consume. It pushed me to look closely at what nutrition means. I am much more informed and aware of what I consume. Even though I don’t eat cereal that much anymore, I still find breakfast cereal fascinating on a visual level: is it food, is it entertainment, is it nourishment, is it really a dessert or is it all of the above? I don’t want it to seem like I’m picking on cereal but the macro world of cereal provides me with the perfect vehicle to examine and highlight what it is that people eat; 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.”
Below you will find a small selection of the Sifter’s personal favourites. Be sure to check out Ernie’s site for the complete collection. Limited edition prints are available at photo-eye, and for those wanting to see the images in-person, Ernie will have an exhibit from January 26 – February 22, 2013 at the Camerawork Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
2. Bales of Shredded Wheat
3. Clover Patch at Dusk
4. Life in the Fish Bowl: Clown Fish
5. French Toast Crunch Canyon
6. Grape Nuts Dune
7. Mighty Man Bites
8. Great Pyramid of Oatmeal Squares
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