ABOUT Joni Eisen 415-648-6740


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In her two-dimensional media, mostly batik painting and other resist work on silk, Joni Eisen has been a chronicler of everyday events, inspired by immediate surroundings: family, house, garden. A maniacal organic gardener, she has done many portraits of people eating food.

Joni sees her bas-relief cake portraits as the next logical step: from 2-D to 3-D, from people eating food to people as food, from portraits of eating to portraits for eating. Here too her garden has served to inspire her. Beets provide a brilliant fuchsia frosting color unequaled by commercial food colorings, and she grows several kinds of edible flowers to add color and distinctiveness to her cake designs. She has created hundreds and hundreds of portraits over the past two decades, delighting clients with her wildly original, edible art.

In contrast to the inherent ephemerality of cake, the solid permanence of mosaic is the quality that drew Joni to her most recent medium. She has created several interior mosaic installations. When, again inspired by the garden, she began to make stepping stones for the backyard, friends asked if she would teach a workshop. She obliged by setting up and organizing an outdoor studio, in which she taught a class of friends as guinea pigs. It was a fun-filled success, and Joni has been holding spring through fall stepping-stone workshops at her home for five years now.

Born in New York state, Joni spent her adolescence in Tampa, Florida, feeling very much like a visitor from Mars. She was delighted to escape to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, graduating with a BA in English. She has been an artist in San Francisco, which immediately felt like home, since 1973. She lives on Potrero Hill with her husband, trombonist and bass player Chuck Bennett, their son Reed when he's home from school, dog Tally and five chickens.