Photographer Megan Fizell cooks up bite-sized art history lessons and recipes for her blog Feasting on Art. She serves up an irresistible blend of classic art, food, and photographs each week. One look at Cezanne’s Cherry and Nectarine Clafoutis inspired by Paul Cezanne’s Still Life with Plate of Cherries and you’ll be hooked.
MF: I conceptualised Feasting on Art while living in London. I assumed there was already a cookbook that detailed recipes inspired by art and I was shocked when I couldn’t find one. Connecting food and art seemed so natural and I decided to test the response to my idea through a blog once I fully relocated to Sydney. Via the collaborative element introduced in October, I hope to turn the blog into a space that fosters dialogue about both food and art. I am currently working on a few proposals so hopefully Feasting on Art will be in a few new places in the future.
MF: I had a wonderful French teacher at school that used to incorporate art into our language lessons. Due to this exposure I began to study fine art during my final year which prompted me to enroll in an Art History course during my first semester of university. From that point on I never looked back and devoted all of my studies towards all forms of art.
My father studied photography at school and growing up I used to spend time with him in his darkroom and was completely mesmorised by the images appearing as if by magic. From these early experiences I have always had an interest in the medium.
A&L: Why are still-life paintings so important?
MF: I love still life paintings because they are so much more than a simple picture of a couple of apples. Often they are saturated with iconographic meaning and in the past were used to depict nationalistic pride. With food and cultural identity so closely intertwined the appearance of food throughout visual history is not surprising.
A&L: How would you describe your photographic style?
MF: Focus on light, clean lines, and symmetry. I work with a small depth of field setting to place the focus on the most important part of the composition.
MF: Seeded mustard, Byron Bay Green Jalapeno Chilli Sauce with Coriander, and dill pickles.
MF: I listen to a lot of jazz – Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald during meals but while cooking I usually have an episode of the Splendid Table on in the background.
A&L: You work part-time as a gallery associate in Sydney, run your own freelance photography business, Tres Jolie Studios, and publish a blog. Was it hard to learn the rules of business, while working, and blogging at the same time?
MF: I find that I struggle with balancing my time the most. More often than not, I spend more of my day than I would like in front of a computer, especially since I recently increased my hours at the gallery. I have to make a point to not blog or spend the evening focusing on my business and instead enjoy the beautiful Sydney summer.
A&L: Can you describe your typical day?
MF: I walk to work and spend the majority of my day working at the gallery hanging art, working on the website, and photographing new paintings. Depending on the weather I will either make a quick dinner and work on my own projects, researching and writing for Feasting on Art or processing images for Tres Jolie Studios, or head out for dinner with my partner and a quick walk down by the beach. At this point in my life I find that I never have enough hours in my day!
A&L: What is your favorite Feasting On Art recipe and why?
serves 4-5 people
1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Mexican chili spice
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 c frozen corn
5 jalapeno chilies (pickled)
4 chipotle chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp flour
10 flour tortillas
1 1/2 c enchilada sauce (recipe below)
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
coriander/lime/sour cream to serve
3 TB flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp oregano
3 c water
1 can crushed tomatoes
MF: Each post is slightly different. Sometimes I find a painting that I really love and want to learn more about or I will find a really interesting ingredient at the market and then look for a painting to research. Each post has a slightly different beginning but I have begun to focus on intertwining ideas of sweet and savory – peppercorn ice cream, strawberry BBQ sauce, and Parmesan shortbread.
A&L: What book is on your bedside table right now?
A&L: Tell us about your greatest adventure.