‘Stop Mad Vlad’: Guelph artist raises funds for Ukraine through food art

A Guelph artist has used vegetables and deli meat to create Mad Vlad in an effort to raise money for Ukraine. Handout photo

This isn’t a load of bologna.

A Guelph artist, who uses food to create caricatures of politicians such as Doug Ford and Donald Trump, has now turned her attention to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to raise funds for the people of Ukraine.

Barbara Salsberg Mathews says she has always enjoyed playing with her food and has decided to apply her artistic talents to help the effort.

Her latest creation, “Mad Vlad” inspired by Putin, is made from deli meat and vegetables.

“I used fatty-filled cold-cuts for the head, a rotting parsnip with bits of old garlic for the nose, the mouth is a combination of a smelly anchovy and roasted red pepper. I used pickled onions with peppercorns for the eyes, sour pickles for the eyebrows, slices of mouldy mushrooms for the hair, a potato for the chin and sriracha sauce for the text,” Mathews said.

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She did not quit cold turkey with just one piece of art of Putin’s face. Mathews is now selling T-shirts with his deli-meat face imprinted on the front with 100 per cent of her commissions going to the Red Cross Humanitarian Crisis.

Her other pieces of art — “Meat Head” Doug Ford and “Deli Don” Trump — were created for fun as a parody and fans had asked for those to be printed on T-shirts, which were sold and raised money for the local arts council.

Salsberg Mathews said making food art is very therapeutic.

“Especially during these long pandemic days. And laughter. We need to laugh more. I try to take something, have fun with it, turn it into something positive, then give it right back to the community,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Olympic athlete Kristina Walker on the ‘Row for Ukraine’ fundraising initiative'
Olympic athlete Kristina Walker on the ‘Row for Ukraine’ fundraising initiative

As a teenager, Salsberg Mathews wrote and illustrated two children’s books and has taught art in high schools for over 25 years.

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At the start of the pandemic, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and said she is inspired by her own challenges to pay it forward.

“Living through this pandemic coupled with my recent diagnosis of PD, makes me want to use my time here to pay it forward while leaving the world a shade more beautiful,” she said.

And as for what happens to food after the art is completed, Salsberg Mathews said she can’t bring herself to eat it.

“It just didn’t feel right,” she said.


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