The world of celebrity-food Instagram accounts is as unpredictable as it is delicious. Musicians are dangled atop brioche buns, Meryl Streep becomes a condiment to taste inside a taco, what’s bad for you is good—hello, cupcakes and pizza!—and to be a dead celebrity is to be very much alive … in a digital, Instagrammy sort of way.
That last one might sound absurd (if not grim) but it’s the premise behind a new Insta that’s quickly taking the cake in the celeb-food-mash-up game. I give you: @Macarbz, where deceased A-listers artistically “Rest In Pastry.”
Yes, portraying departed famous people could skew macabre real quick but Ben Farquharson, the London-based artist serving up these creations, does so with a deft and clever hand, creating endearingly edible eulogies for our favorite fallen stars. Here’s what Ben exclusively revealed about his carbohy-larious work …
Melissa: So tell me, how did you decide you wanted to artistically toast dead celebs with carbs?
Ben: It wasn’t so much a want as a knead … Sorry, I just had to match your pun realness. Hmm, I can’t remember exactly how it happened but I was at my mum’s house and I made an awful dad joke about Marilyn Monroll … the rest was history.
I only started actually drawing these images about two years later when my girlfriend bought me some paint and supplies!
What’s your inspiration for the creations you post as macarbz and who are your artistic influences?
It’s morbid but I’m inspired by the people who croak it. I love a ton of illustrators though; I think my favourite, for the mo, is Daniel Clowes. Although I do love John McNaught (especially Pebble Island!)
Do you have an arts background? And, do you think it’s necessary to produce quality (whatever that means) art?
I do actually. I studied fine art at Goldsmiths, University of London but didn’t follow the whole artist route; I found it a turn-off to be honest. And I currently work at Central Saint Martins, an arts and design college that is part of University of the Arts, London.
I think quality, importance, or however you want to put it, in art just means creating something you are happy with as the producer. It sounds self-absorbed but really if your purpose strays from that it can become tiresome! At least for me anyway …
How do you create? What’s your process like?
It doesn’t take much set-up: just good light, a pen and paper. I usually do it in bed whilst watching Bob’s Burgers or something! Talk about demystifying the process, ha!
Do you eat a lot of bread, cake and noodles?
Yes but especially if it has cheese on top and comes accompanied by meat … lots of meat, which is in keeping with my Southern African background. (I’m from Zimbabwe.)
Favorite kind of carb …
Do tacos count? Pizza? Give me it all …
Favorite kind of celeb …
I like the three Jens: Jen Lawrence, Jen Aniston and Jenny Lopez. I reckon we’d be good mates. But otherwise dead ones.
Favorite artist …
Max Neuhaus (sorry, obscure…)
Most tragic celebrity death?
To be honest, a lot of them but I think Paula Yates and Peaches Geldof, as well as Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina cut me deep.
Fill in the blank: When _____ happens, I’ll say, ‘OK Ben, you’ve made it.’
When I start getting free food off the back of my doodles.
Kind of morbid but newsrooms have obituaries prepared should a major celebrity die. Do you have any work prepared for anyone big?
Yeah I’ve got loads. I have a list on my phone but some I don’t like to talk about in case I jinx it. Danny Dorito (Danny Devito, god forbid) is one. Barry Maniloaf (Barry Manilow). Penne (Pele). The list goes on …
Future plans for macarbz?
I wanna do a fish version. Celebs as fish. But also I really want to make merch from Macarbz that extends the pun, like a bread bin for ‘Breaddie Mercury’ or a cake tin for ‘John Lennon Meringue Pie.’
Last question: If you could bring back from the dead one of the celebs you’ve drawn, who would it be and what do you think he/she would say about your carbohydrate-fueled portrayal?
Tupac. I’m almost 100% sure he’d say, “Thug Life.”