WEST ALLIS (WITI) — They’re made in just about every flavor you can imagine to satisfy your sweet tooth, but Kristen Cumings uses Jelly Belly jelly beans in a very different way.
“I never would’ve guessed that I would be doing this. It’s fun, it’s really fun,” said Cumings.
She takes the chewy candy many love, to make beautiful works of art.
“I was amazed. I was really surprised at how huge the pictures are and when you stand back the animals look almost real,” said Eileen Westerfield as she watched Cumings work.
This week, Cumings has been working on her latest masterpiece for visitors at the Wisconsin State Fair to watch and enjoy.
Surprisingly, she’s not the first Jelly Belly artist in residence.
“Jelly Belly has actually had an art program since the 1980s. Peter Rocha was the first artist and he created a picture of Ronald Reagan when he was president,” said Cumings.
Currently, she’s working on a portrait of a bengal tiger, which is part of a series of pieces she’s doing to raise awareness about endangered species.
After painting the image, she uses an all-purpose spray adhesive to begin sticking on the jelly beans.
“At the end when it’s all filled up with beans, I lay it flat and I use a two-part epoxy resin that seals and covers all of the beans and it actually has a bit of a UV protectant in it to help keep them from fading,” said Cumings.
But the tricky part is not eating your art supplies.
“It’s one for the picture one for the mouth, one for the picture, maybe two for the mouth,” said Westerfield.
Now Cumings is inspiring people to make their own Jelly Belly art.
“I told her I might take my jelly beans or Jelly Belly’s and go home and start it up tonight or this afternoon,” said Kathleen Lysaght, after talking to Cumings.
Cumings was at the State Fair Sunday and Monday until 5 p.m.
She says it typically takes her about 100 hours to complete one of her Jelly Belly works of art.