In 1997, painter Saxton Freymann heard that a publisher named Joost Elffers was looking for someone who could carve food beyond the rose-radish table garnish. Freymann experimented with a few fruits and vegetables and found a new talent. Using an X-acto knife, he deftly transforms garden-variety produce into emotive faces and amusing animals enhanced with peppercorn eyes, beet-juice mouths, or corn-kernel teeth. He keeps his designs simple. “The colors and forms are so wonderful that they give you everything you need. The characters come out of the vegetable or fruit. I'm just nudging it to something it resembles.” Freymann works improvisationally: his sculptures are usually determined by serendipitous finds in the produce aisle. “I shop on the way to the photographer's studio,” he says.
Freymann's imaginative creations appear in How Are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods, winner of a National Parenting Publications Award; One Lonely Sea Horse; Dog Food, winner of an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award; and Baby Food, among several other books. How Are You Peeling? and Dog Food were also both named New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books.
In Freymann's latest title, Food for Thought: The Complete Book of Concepts for Growing Minds, hilarious food sculptures act out the five most important learning concepts for young children: shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and opposites. The book provides parents with one place to meet all their child's early education needs—and the kids might even be inspired to eat their vegetables.
Saxton Freymann currently lives in New York City.