Stephan Brusche never planned on judging a fruit by its peel. In fact, when he first started his banana art six years ago, it was just to test out Instagram filters. “I remember sitting at work one afternoon, and my wife told me about this new photo sharing app” says the Dutch graphic designer. At the time, he thought it might be a good way to share some of his illustration pieces. “I wanted to see how the different filters looked, so I took a picture of this banana I had leftover from lunch. And just for fun, I drew a smiley face on it. It was all kind of an accident.”
Immediately, he was drawn to the smooth feel of a ballpoint pen against the banana’s peel. And he was hooked. “The next day, I thought, let me try drawing another one. I started challenging myself. 'What else could you draw on a banana?'”
Since then, Brusche, has gone far beyond doodling faces on the fruit. From portraits and animals to 3D cityscapes and bananas that reference famous art pieces, his work has attracted thousands of followers on social media. Some of his favorite pieces have been published in a book called “Fruit Doodles.” Recently, he quit his day job at a tourism company to focus solely on what he calls “a banana art emporium.”
From Michealangelo to Salvador Dali, the work of great artists has inspired Brusche's banana art. Just walking by the fruit stand in a market can also ignite an artistic idea. “One time, I saw a pair of bananas with one longer than the other, and it reminded me of this famous painting by Klimt, 'The Kiss.'"
Working with perishables, however, has its own challenges. “The hardest part is the limited time window. More complex designs can take up to an hour or so,” says Brusche. To avoid a banana browning too quickly mid-design, Brusche needs to plan ahead. First, he sketches the idea on paper. Next, he photographs the plain banana and attempts the design via Photoshop to figure out correct proportions. Then, it’s time for the actual carving, and finally, he photographs the finished product (the only way to preserve his pieces!) If the process isn’t timed out correctly, a banana could go from “okay to horrible in half an hour!”
Despite its ticking clock, Brusche’s favorite canvas is still the cheery yellow potassium-packed fruit. “I like the contrast of dark pen against its bright skin,” he says. “Most other fruits are also circular. I like finding new ways to incorporate the banana’s unique shape!”
This banana, chocolate, and graham icebox cake is a work of art (no carving skills required!) Watch how to make it here: