HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) — Art can come in many different types of forms — from objects you can touch to painting — but what about something you’ve eaten? Gumballs formed a familiar painting at a local museum for all to see.
“Starry Night” is a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh, but the one on display at the Medici Museum of Art in Howland looks different.
“They’re gumballs,” said artist Franz Spohn.
For the last 25 years, Spohn has taken images on the computer and blown them up, taking each pixel and replacing it with the gumballs. It takes a lot of math.
He displays on a ticket the order for each color of gumball.
“This is tube No. 1, all the way to tube No. 140,” Spohn said. “You have a ticket, you have two people, you put the gum down and you form that.”
Since he’s been doing it, he says he rarely forms a piece on his own. Usually, it’s a community effort. “Starry Night” was created by teachers in both Mahoning and Trumbull counties last week.
“Each pair of teachers would work together. One would read the color off, the other put the gumballs down,” Spohn said.
For this piece, there were 19,305 gumballs split up amongst 9 colors, with over 7,500 blue gumballs and only 19 red ones.
When he orders them, he gets 5,800 in a box.
“They’re made separately, and then they have this big machine that randomly mixes them together,” Spohn said. “When I get them, I get a box of mix colors, so we have to sort them.”
For a project this big, he compares it to voting in an election.
“‘One person isn’t going to make a difference.’ But whoever is doing this tube, if they don’t get their tube right, when it’s seen when, I call it the big picture, when you look at the big picture then everybody’s effort pays off,” Spohn said.
Spohn said his next mural is for Mill Creek Mall in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’ll be working with teachers there to recreated Henri Matisse’s “The Dessert: Harmony in Red.”