Jelly Bean Art?!

jelly-belly-peter-rocha-1

Last week, I had a friend visiting from out of town and our goal was to do as many ridiculous things as possible.  This included visiting the Jelly Belly factory on our way to Milwaukee, WI!  There, we ate some free samples, learned about how jelly beans are made, and also discovered the amazing jelly bean art of Peter Rocha.

The late Peter Rocha specialized in making portraits of famous people out of- yes, that’s right- jelly beans.  He would start by taking a photograph of the person and turning it into a pencil drawing.  He then would then fill in the drawing with color by painting it.  After that, he placed the jelly beans, one by one, on the painting and used clear glue to fix them to the canvas. 

Rocha has immortalized over 50 famous faces with his art, including Elvis Presley, Abraham Lincoln, The Statue of Liberty, and Ronald Reagan, a self-confessed jelly bean lover.

Here’s a photo I took inside the factory of his portrait of Margaret Thatcher along with a Jelly Belly hourglass:

jelly-belly-art

These portraits can use up to 10, 000 jelly beans!  Imagine all the time he must have spent making these portraits!  I definitely do not have the patience for jelly bean art, but I certainly admire his dedication and innovation. 

Now that Peter Rocha has passed, his nephew Roger Rocha has continued his legacy by creating his own jelly bean art.  This means we can look forward to seeing many more mouthwatering mosaics in the future.  Maybe I can commission a portrait of myself…

Love jelly beans?  Try making these yummy Jelly Bean Cookies!

For more food-related art, check out these blog posts:
Canstruction!
Canstruction 2010!

The United Plates of America!

Do you have a jelly bean recipe to share?  Submit it here!

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  • Robin

    In 2002 we were visiting the Chicago area for a family reunion. We decided to drive north to Wisconsin to look for cheese but found the Jelly Belly Factory! What a trip. It was so fun at the Jelly Belly Bar where they mixed up different flavors to try. never did find the cheese but headed back to Chicago with many Jelly Belly items!

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