Cake Heads

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 Colonel GaddafiSaddiq Khan MPGeorge Osborne 

Enter your text here.The first Cake Head I ever did was of John the Baptist for a friend's birthday but it was eaten before I had a chance to photograph it. That led to the head of Tony Blair as a birthday cake for the Labour Party agent for Battersea, Peter Watts, who was horrified at the idea of eating his hero. It is people's response which varies from a shout of delighted laughter to "it's creepy, and I can't eat it" that has impelled me to continue making these cakes. It is also interesting to observe the introduction of boundaries on my own part. I know that I could no longer do a John the Baptist (head served on a stainless steel platter) because of the hideous beheadings that arose out of the Iraq war. The first serious art cake was a large Buddha like figure of my grandson, George as a baby about 40 centimetres high in 1999. I decorated him in bright patterns and was inspired by the saying "he/she looks good enough to eat" which parents use when speaking of the delight experienced in handling their babies and toddlers. I even have a photo of George eating part of his head. It is, after all, cake though because the cakes are recognizable as depicting a person it has cannibalistic undertones which gives it a dark edge. I've concentrated on politicians partly because of the tradition of political satire and I've found that politicians are robust. They are used to being depicted in different forms and can be quite happy to have a head of themselves. One interesting aspect is that a cake head can be treated as either tribute or trophy. Poor William Hague was definitely a trophy after losing the 2001 election when I produced him for a post election party. A further development in doing the cakes was to become more consistent in recording the cakes. I have little videos of Boris and Barack Obama being cut up and I plan to make a CD of one the head cutting and eating events. Naturally, I try to choose heads that won't be too ephemeral even though politics is an ever changing scene. I could not resist doing Colonel Gaddafi. Many of the heads become part of photomontages; I have always like to recycle images. But still, one of my greatest pleasures is just the surprise that people have when the realise the heads are cake and not wax. I like that contrast between expectation and reality.