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
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
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.