Gummy bears are a favorite treat for millions of people, young and old, but for German artist Johannes Cordes they are a muse, an art medium and his trademark. Cordes uses thousands of delicious gummy bears to create colorful works of art.
Johannes Cordes, from Meppen, Germany, somehow resists the temptation to stuff his face with the thousands of gummy bears in his studio and instead uses them to create unique works of art, including portraits and recreations of famous paintings. The idea of using the gelatinous medium came to Cordes by accident. A few years back, he was building a custom painting for a friend in his Nuremberg studio, but when he was done, it turned out the frame was too big for the artwork. He was disappointed, but when he spotted an open bag of gummy bears next to the now-seemingly useless frame he realized all the colorful treats would make a nice composition. So he started piecing together an image from the differently-colored sweets on a canvas, and put in on display in the window of his workshop. It was supposed to be a gag to amuse passers-by, but after a few days that “joke” was sold, and JohannesCordes had found a unique art medium…
The gummy bear art of Johannes Cordes has come a long way since that first accidental work, and the 57-year-old artist has developed his own techniques of creating the needed colors and preserving his sweet masterpieces. Although he is sometimes sponsored by gummy bear maker Haribo, even they can’t change the fact that the rubbery treats only come in six different colors, so Cordes has to add the necessary colors himself. He uses acrylic paints and special crayons on the back of the gummy bears and adds up to 10 color coats and shadings to achieve the desired effect. He also used to spend a lot of his time just sorting the gummy bears he could use for his art. About half the pieces in a bag are either too small, too deformed or are not uniform in color to be used, so now he works with presort facilities, to ensure he gets only the perfect gummy bears. Johannes goes through about three tons of gummy bears a year, that’s around 200 bags per week, and in his entire career, he has used millions of them. Imagine his blood sugar levels if he had actually eaten all those yummy treats.
Each of his gummy bear artworks contain thousands of rubbery sweets, and takes between 100 to 240 hours to complete. Once all the gummy bears are in place, he uses a special varnish to hold them all in place. he says the best distance to admire his creations is from 10 – 20 meters away.
Above photos © Johannes Cordes