There are few things in life better than a good pancake, but if that pancake portrays a scenic landscape in full color and is followed by hors d’oeuvres and whiskey cocktails, things just got better. This is exactly what’s happening at Marine Projects this coming Saturday, Aug. 2, as they host the first-ever MerkelWare Party, debuting the new pancake set made by local potter Matt Merkel-Hess.
While Merkel-Hess is an artist, he’s also a father. It was while making breakfast for his kids – and getting creative with the process – that he came up with pancake painting. He starts with jars of batter, adds different food coloring to each one, and then uses these colors to “paint” the batter onto the hotplate.
Of course, as he's an artist, it’s not just rainbows and smiley faces, although his Instagram account does have evidence of both of these basic artistic tropes. His take on the former has it sporting a rainbow “tumor,” and his execution of the latter is an artists’ self-portrait that his son eats for breakfast.
Tagging his alimentary art #pancakemorning, Merkel-Hess caught the eye of local gallerist Claressinka Anderson of Marine Projects. She responded to his contribution to the meal meme and thought it the perfect way to do site-specific art in the spirit of his work, which includes sculptural works that represent kitchen items — blenders, KitchenAid mixers, milk cartons, coffee makers and even take-away chicken containers.
Merkel-Hess also has a line of functional lead-free, dishwasher safe ceramics under his MerkelWare banner, the name a play on Tupperware. Saturday’s MerkelWare Party is a nod to the Tupperware parties of the 1950s.
From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this weekend, Merkel-Hess will demonstrate his colorful new edible pancake art — including both the abstract and landscape styles. Merkel-Hess’ influences for the “panscapes” – pancake landscapes – include such artists as Komar and Melamid, Albert Bierstadt and PBS’ Bob Ross. Think mountains and lakes – a welcome twist on the stacks of pancakes and pools of syrup that have been occupying breakfast plates for ages.
Van Gogh’s influence, too, is apparent, in the texture the batter gives to the work. But for those who’d have trouble taking a bite out of such a vivid depiction, Merkel-Hess paints abstract pancakes as well, influenced by the colorful and geometric work of Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers and Frank Stella. The point being, whatever your taste in art, there’s something tasty for you. (Although, eaters beware: With each cake a work of art, time constraints may not allow the artist to paint a pancake for everyone in attendance).
During the party, Merkel-Hess and Marine Projects will be debuting new MerkelWare pieces inspired by his edible art and perfect for your own #pancakemorning. These cups, plates and bowls are an addition to Merkel-Hess’ whiskey jugs, which will be working overtime at the party on Saturday pouring whiskey cocktails for attendees. If you’d like to be among them, RSVP ASAP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event, which includes whiskey jug cocktails (served from 1-3 p.m.), is in Santa Monica. If you want to go, RSVP and the exact location will be provided. (And yes, we know that the website says that you need to RSVP by July 30; calm down, the gallerist says you'll be good to go even if you RSVP this late.)