Montreal-based artist Shelley Miler uses sugar and edible blue paint to create incredibly detailed murals on the side of buildings. Her works are influenced by the cultures of the places in which she’s creating, and although they look as durable as ordinary murals, they simply wash away at first rain.
Looking at Shelley Miller’s artworks for the first time, you’d think they were carved in stone, but in reality the talented artist just applies cake icing using a common pastry bag and paints them with edible blue paint. Trained at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Concordia University, Miller has experienced with a variety of art mediums, ranging from sand to marble, but always found herself returning to sugar. She also spent some time decorating cakes during her university days, but quickly moved on to bigger and better things, and now she is internationally-known for her unique street art sugar murals.
Having traveled to India and Brazil, Shelley Miller’s sweet creations are influenced by Portuguese tile themes, mosque and temple architecture, textile patterns, but she also draws inspiration from modern street art. She first drew the critics’ attention to her unique sugar murals in 2001, when she applied cake icing to an outside wall, in an artwork called “Pipe Dreams”, but it was her 2009 masterpiece, “Cargo”, that left everyone baffled. Inspired by the azulejo tile tradition of Spain and Portugal, Miller painted a scene of ships in a harbor using edible blue paint on white sugar tiles, fixed to the wall with icing.
But not everyone appreciated her sweet works of art. During her travels in India, in 2001, the Saskatchewan native found her work criticized by several Indian artists for using an edible material they considered a luxury item.