During quarantine, many of us picked up a new hobby—Basket weaving! Pie baking! Puzzling! But it’s Japanese artist Manami Sasaki who found the ultimate distraction du jour: toast art.
In her Tokyo kitchen, Sasaki concocted chic culinary creations on a carb canvas—think homages to Picasso and Mondrian, recreations of Edo-era paintings, abstract nods to Mickey Mouse, and even an edible take on American comic book art. Then, she posted the stylized results on her Instargam account, @sasamana1204. “The reason I started doing toast art was lockdown. I was spending an hour and a half commuting to work, but working from home led me to wake up late and get lazy,” Sasaki tells Vogue. “I wanted to get up early in the morning and create a morning routine that would excite me. That’s when I started the toast art for breakfast.”
Why toast? “I’ve eaten bread every day since I was born, so expressing it on toast was a natural progression,” Sasaki says. She saw an opportunity to both show off not only her talent, but also that of other Japanese creators—in a way that everyone would connect with. “Most of the subjects I’ve painted on bread have been from Japanese culture. Since 80% of my Instagram followers are international, I’m motivated to introduce Japanese culture and artists. So I use bread and text to show off the appeal of the subject matter.”
Each piece, Sasaki says, takes around three hours to make from start to finish. After deciding on a concept, she walks to her local supermarket to shop for ingredients. She’s cognizant of which materials change color and shape when applied to heat (an important factor to consider when a toaster is involved). Recently, she used prosciutto to represent the orange slickness of a goldfish, and purple cabbage to illustrate the regal feel of a kimono; blueberries served as a centerpiece of a summer flower.
And lest you think this is merely an aesthetic exercise, Sasaki makes sure each work tastes delicious. That aforementioned flower toast? In addition to blueberries, it was made of sesame cream, sour cream, and chervil, topped off with honey drizzle. If she doesn’t think through her concept, she notes, “My breakfast time will be a disappointment. I’m determined to avoid it!”