JELLY BELLY BEAN ART
A Unique and Delicious Art Form
It all started many years ago when President Reagan told the world he was crazy about Jelly Belly jelly beans.
Peter Rocha was a talented young artist living in San Francisco who had a passion for both Jelly Belly jelly beans and President Reagan. He took over six months to create the mosaic that ended up looking just like the President and Reagan loved it. The Jelly Belly Candy Company loved it. They asked Peter to perfect his technique and come up with more. Thereafter followed portraits of Princess Di, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Donald Duck, Margaret Thatcher and the Statue of Liberty. Altogether, Peter created over 60 works.
For his fabulous creations, Peter Rocha, a native of Texas, was picked up by the global media after being featured in Time and Newsweek. Jelly Belly art was here to stay but sadly, Peter died in 2000. He had passed his trade secrets on to his nephew Roger Rocha who thrilled the British public with his portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth. The UK now has its own Jelly Belly artist: Malcolm West has perfected the art in his own way.
"The process is the same for all the pictures,” says Malcolm. I create an image often from a photograph and when that is complete, I design a tight colour composition which becomes my guide for the mosaic. I soak the beans in clear glue, wet the painting with more glue, and then slide the appropriately coloured beans into position. I mix a variety of colours in any one area to create an impressionistic look and vibrating colours and use all fifty official flavours of Jelly Belly beans as they give me a full palette of colours. I treat each bean like a gem - and laying each one of over 10,000 beans is a very painstaking process. But the effect is very exciting. In the end we have a mosaic of Jelly Belly jelly beans. "
Not only has Malcolm West created some fabulous Jelly Belly portraits, he is also bringing his astonishing talent to Jelly Belly sculptures which include Mr Selfridges, a London Taxi and the Queen's Coronation Crown.
Other works of Jelly Belly art are created by Kristen Cumings, a talented American artist.