In the words of Paula Deen, butter can make anything better. Even, it seems, art. Check out butter art, the latest kooky means of self-expression.
When the day’s too hot and the sun persists in beating its rays down over our sweaty heads, our first thoughts are often ‘I wish I was inside a giant cooler’. But for some, that’s not just a dream; it’s their workplace. Meet the butter nutters.
It’s unknown when the butter art movement first began, but records suggest that one of the first sculptures made its way onto an Arkansas farm in 1870, before being displayed at agricultural fairs and even on some of the most exquisite banquet tables.
However, It wasn’t until 1911 that butter art gained national recognition across America when sculptor John K. Daniels created the “Butter Cow” at the Iowa State Fair. From here, wannabe artisan artists tried to replicate the buttery bovine creature with little success, and so the movement took off.
By the mid 1950’s, several sculptors had gained a unique status among art circles for their ability to manipulate margarines and butters to spectacular effect. Frank Dutt, a heartthrob in the butter art realm, brought the butter cow to the masses before training apprentices in the art.
Possibly one of the most talented of his prodigies was Norma Lyon, who became known as ‘The Butter Cow Lady’. Fed up with the humdrum familiarity of simple cow structures, Lyon expanded the butter design spectrum and began to create butter sculptures of famous faces like Elvis Presley, John Wayne and even a replica of The Last Supper.
Today, the butter art game has opened itself up to professionals and amateurs alike with a penchant for dairy dioramas. Sculptors like Jim Victor from Pennsylvania and Vipula Athukorale from Leicester, UK, have been able to forge careers in the butter art industry and can spend many hours a day inside a box chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in pursuit of their passion.
From the warmth in their fingertips to the heat on their breath, even a small amount of heat could turn these artists’ three-dimensional wonders into two-dimensional puddles. But one thing’s for sure; with so many people turning their hand to margarine masterpieces, we won’t be saying goodbye to butter art any time soon.