Self-taught artist Vernon Spicer, from Alabama, uses pasta like spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna and noodles to create his detailed paintings.
I’ve seen some pretty unusual materials used in paintings, but pasta is definitely a first for me. 71-year-old Vernon Spicer, a Vietnam veteran and pastor at a church in Selma, Alabama, got the idea of using the brittle material from a dream he had one night. It woke me up one night,” he told the Montgomery Advertiser. “In it, I could see something that had a three-dimensional design, one that involved me using sticks to create.” Instead telling him to get over it, wife Audrey encouraged him to pursue the vision and suggested he replace the sticks with uncooked spaghetti. That’s how Vernon’s career as an amateur pasta artist began. Now, six years later, Spicer can create some pretty amazing works of art.
He begins the artistic process by taking a photo of the landmark he wants to replicate with pasta. He then carefully starts arranging the various types of past onto a Plexiglas, making sure he doesn’t break too many pieces. Then, he starts applying enamel-based house paint to his pasta, making it hard for the naked eye to realize what the painting is made of until the person gets really close. It takes nerves of steel and mountains of patience to paint every little piece of pasta, especially when there’s a lot of spaghetti involved, but Vernon enjoys his work. “When I get started on one of my paintings, I put the TV on mute and use the light,” he said. “Then, I put on a pot of coffee and head into another world, working through the night.”
Although making one of these beautiful pasta paintings is no easy feat, the hardest part for Vernon is actually selling them. For his depiction of the Brown Chapel (AME Church), he’s asking $1,800, which is apparently a bit steep, since no one has made any offers just yet. He’s even tried lowering the price considerably, but still no bites so far. Some of his other pasta masterpieces include two paintings of Pettus Bridge, and the artist is preparing to start work on an image of Mount Rushmore.
Vernon Spicer says he probably spends more time answering people’s questions about his art, than he actually does working on it. “People ask me if I have to cook my pasta before using it, and I tell them that’s the last thing to do because they’d be too soft,” he said. “But, you’ve got to be careful because noodles can break into tiny pieces right out of the box.”