Good enough to eat! Artist dishes up lip-smacking paintings

The Brooklyn Paper
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Forget fruit in a bowl — still life is better on a bun!

A pastry chef who also paints photo-realistic depictions of food will serve up her work and her workspace during the Gowanus Open Studios on Oct. 17–18. The Carroll Gardens native says she chose food as her muse because of the rich variety it offers.

“I really love textures, I love to paint different textures, and in food, there are so many different textures,” said Ashley Alioto. “For example I did a hamburger painting, and the bun, the burger, the lettuce — each one has a different characteristic, so for me, painting food is really exciting.”

That hamburger painting currently hangs on the wall of Park Slope hot dog joint Bark, alongside several other menu items which Alioto rendered in oils. Her painted provisions often showcase calorically-aggressive foods, including donuts, ice cream, and cheese fries. She says that, for her, painting junk food is just as good as eating it.

“I love junk food because it’s an indulgence, it’s a guilty pleasure,” said Alioto. “It might sound weird but I get the same comfort out of painting it that other people get out of eating it.”

This weekend will be Alioto’s second time participating in the annual Gowanus Open Studios, and this year she will be dishing up a variation on her gastronomic arts. Her new work focuses on Alioto’s own “seven deadly sins,” which she says provides more opportunities than just the subject of gluttony.

“I think I’m slowly drifting away from food,” said Alioto. “But that’s the fun of it, it would be boring if you painted the same thing all the time.”

Alioto is one of more than 300 Gowanus artists who will open their working spots this weekend for the third annual Gowanus Open Studios. Art-loving Brooklynites can pop in to the studios all weekend, or join a curator-led tour organized by the group Arts Gowanus.

Ashley Alioto’s studio at Brooklyn Art Space (168 Seventh Street at Third Avenue, second floor, in Gowanus, Open to the public on Oct. 17–18 from noon to 6 pm. Free. Other studios also open, see for details. Organized tours at various locations and times ( $20.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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