LaCroix and Giant Neon Bananas: Meet Jeremy Buben and His FoodArt Collection

For the love of all things delicious: Jeremy Buben of FoodArt Collection, a food-themed art gallery, has dedicated his actual living room to a gallery of food. He invites the general public every Sunday from 11am-3pm (and by appointment) to take a figurative bite out of this delectable Capitol Hill space.

Hi Jeremy, welcome to the Lonely Arts Club! What’s it like having your home become an art gallery?

I have really enjoyed the chance to let people visit and check out my growing collection, so having a home that also functions as a gallery has been very satisfying for me. I’m pretty minimalist in furnishings so the apartment isn’t much different when it is private as opposed to when I open it up. I also really like the challenge of regular art rotation and the conversations between pieces from the personal collection that it enables.

Plus, I feel like I’m in a museum after hours when I’m just hanging out by myself.

By now, you’ve seen a lot of food art. Is there a type of food you wish someone would encapsulate artistically but hasn’t yet?

I’m a fan of the still life and I’d love to see more artworks depicting the foods of our region.

One of my all-time favorite paintings I’ve seen locally was at the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds. It was a painting from 1909 of a cooked Dungeness crab and a bottle of Rainier beer, and to me, that is still very relevant. That painting was distinct from its time and place yet still applicable today. I love artwork that is a record of its place yet still exudes a timeless quality.

If you were a food artist yourself, what would you create?

I’m not an artist, but if I were to make food art it would likely be still lifes of cheese.

Your current exhibit FROOT by Goldsuit looks very intriguing! What are some highlights of your latest exhibit with the Seattle artist Genevieve St. Charles?

Genny has really outdone herself this time and I think the biggest highlight of this show is her neon-accented four-foot-tall pink banana. Genny wanted to work in neon so I introduced her to master tube bender Kelsey Fernkopf and she got to dip her feet in the art of neon.

Genevieve is an incredible collaborator so I can’t wait to see who else she’ll meet and what she’ll make next.

What is the strangest thing that has ever been in your museum?

Last year when I was doing shows out of my previous apartment, we did a show with Genevieve St Charles that was dedicated to the popular LaCroix beverage. It was wild to see how many people showed up just because of their fondness for that drink and its popularity at the time.

We also had a LaCroix mural in my old kitchen, in which Genevieve painted a mural taking up my entire kitchen wall with the Pamplemousse color scheme and a ‘Selfie‘ flavor. It was perfect for all the LaCroix fans to immortalize themselves in front of.

Do you have any other ‘things that are made into food’ items (AKA hamburger telephone or pizza wall clock?) around your apartment apart from the art?

I’m not really into kitsch so I don’t keep much food memorabilia around, but my dad did give me a cool rock that was hand painted to look like a hamburger that he bought off of eBay.

How did you get where you are today—you know—with a giant neon pink banana in your home?

I received a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts (IVA) from the University of Washington. In 2007, it wasn’t the defined degree track it is today and for me, it was just a combination of art history and studio art classes with the right amount of credits for graduation.

I have since poked around town in and around creative jobs for a little over a decade. I was even a line cook for a very short stint of time. I’ve done a little arts writing and also just enjoy visiting galleries and museums on a very regular basis. Now I work at an auction house that specializes in art so I’m surrounded by art in one form or another nearly continuously.  I also collect spices and enjoy cooking.

Most of my art collection has a fine coat of bacon grease over it.

What are some FoodArt(s) we can look forward to in the coming months?

Show proposals are coming in and I’m very excited for this year of FoodArt shows. For February we have a very fun show with Rich Stevens. He’ll be showing the culmination of his Burgerland series that he’s been working on for the last five years. The schedule also has a photography show from Amy Salowitz, Sumi painter, Angie Dixon is tackling the bounty of Northwest foods, and there will be a foraged mushroom show in the fall.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The best part of a FoodArt show is that we also serve up some on-theme food. Past shows have seen over 200 oysters shucked in my kitchen, 60 Dick’s hamburgers handed out, a roasting pan full of Quick-Pack Food Mart fried chicken, and one show was accompanied by ale and some delicious pretzels from Tall Grass Bakery. I can’t wait to see what all we serve this year.

All FoodArt Collection Images are by Amy Salowitz

 

Thank you so much for your time, Jeremy! Now we’re hungry.

Since 2014, Jeremy Buben has been collecting food-related art. In 2017 he started showcasing his collection and artist exhibits in the Seattle area. His current exhibit, FROOT by Goldsuit by Seattle artist Genevieve St. Charles is up until the end of January. 

For the full enchilada, check out theFoodArt Collection website.

 

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