As big fans of the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy and with a penchant for gingerbread, when we saw a photo on Instagram of a giant Groot made out of gingerbread our eyes lit up!
Groot had been baked and constructed by Caroline Eriksson, a Swedish food artist and designer who creates life-size gingerbread models of movie characters. Caroline won a gingerbread contest in Norway back in 2013, when she entered an Optimus Prime that took around three weeks to complete.
We just knew we had to find out more about who was behind such feats of food sculpturing!
Tell us about yourself – who you are and what you do?
I am a motion designer and creative artist currently based in Oslo, but I’m originally from Sweden. During the past years I have earned recognition for my somewhat quirky passion of creating gingerbread sculptures focused on pop culture monsters and other creepy things.
How did these gingerbread creations all start?
I have been building gingerbread houses since I was a child, but with the years I got more ambitious and wanted to try more complex builds. It started with boats, castles and towers, until in 2013 when I entered a gingerbread competition here in Norway with my creation Optimus Prime – the robot from the Transformer movies. I had had the idea of building a character for a while, when I went to see the Transformer movie at the cinema and it occurred to me that the robots consisted mostly of square shapes.
I remember thinking that it must be possible to create such a character in gingerbread as well if starting with simple inner forms and adding layers of details on top. The idea worked, and I won the contest with my entry! The image of the gingerbread transformer went viral, and I felt that I had tapped into a new niche of this medium that I wanted to keep exploring. That’s how it all started.
Your creations are very impressive – how long does it take you to build these? Do you find yourself almost bonding with them as you create them?
It usually takes me around 5 weeks from idea to finished creation, so it is a long process. When spending that amount of time and energy on something you believe in and watch come to life, by the time you are done you have definitely bonded with that piece!
A lot of your creations are film based monsters/characters – are you a big movie fan?
I am definitely a big movie fan, and have been as long as I can remember! I have fond memories of running to the video store when I was a kid, renting a bunch of movies and spending entire weekends binge-watching with my friends. Naturally my absolute favourite movies are from around that time, the 80’s, and I guess you can tell by some of the creations I have done so far.
Any monsters you have planned to make next? Have you any you have dreamed of doing?
I have a few monsters and characters on my mind… Without revealing too much I aim to challenge myself with every project, to try something new whether that’s a complex shape, texture or technique. The monsters I feel like creating are therefore ones I still have no idea of how to realize. But the challenge is what I find most fun.
Recently I also posted this question to my followers on instagram, asking what character or monster they would like to see next. I got a lot of great answers, and one in particular that i’m about to start on now!
We are really intrigued to know – what happens to them after you have made them?
Some creations I have had the possibility to display at cinemas, and I would love to exhibit future creations as well, somewhere where people can come and see them in person.
But for sculptures such as Groot that was impossible. I integrated him into my kitchen table, so it would have been difficult to move him without parts breaking. So he just sat there as my flatmate for a couple of months before I had to deconstruct him!
Some people have been asking why I don’t sculpt in a more permanent material, but I actually find there’s a charm to art that doesn’t last.
You are based in Oslo. What are some of your favourite places to visit there (bars, cafes, restaurants) and is there anywhere you like to travel to in Norway which you recommend?
Oslo has a very charming small-town feel and atmosphere, so there are a lot of hidden gems that I highly recommend. Haralds Vaffel is a cosy waffle shop that serves the best waffles I have EVER had. And the shop’s story is amazingly fun in itself, there was originally just a guy selling waffles from his apartment window to make some extra money, but it became so popular he has now opened his own shop.
Torggata Botaniske is another favourite, a small cocktail bar which feels more like a garden because vines and plants are growing everywhere! They have really tasty drinks and the casual intimate atmosphere is great.
To be honest I have travelled less around Norway than I would have liked… but everywhere you go is very beautiful with the big mountains and fjords. There is a remote small town with no more than 50 locals called Hoddevika I would like to visit again soon and can warmly recommend. It is fairly well known among – and most visited by – surfers, because of its location by the beach and the possibility to surf all throughout the year. It is a great place to just disconnect!
We always love recommendations – what have you been listening to, watching or reading recently?
I can highly recommend the tv series Ozark and The Handmaids Tale if you haven’t gotten around to seeing them yet, they are definitely binge-watching material!
I am also a big fan of the stop-motion animation features of LAIKA and believe they deserve more attention! The craftsmanship of the sets and characters and skill in animation as well as storytelling is just unbelievable and the visuals are stunning. I can’t recommend them enough!
Finally what is your tip of the day?
If you have an idea that you are passionate about and believe in – no matter how quirky or unconventional – make it happen!
Interview by Alex Minnis
Follow Caroline on her Instagram @caroline.d.eriksson