Here’s a selection of the compelling images I’ve mounted above my desk to inspire good work. The visual splendour of these images acts as a palate pleasure, as well as a goad to creativity.
Fractal fruit: Across the globe there are up to 500,000 plant species that bear fruit, of which 70,000 to 80,000 are thought to be edible and tasty. How many have you tried? Whenever I get the chance, I hare into Chinese supermarkets, night markets and the living jungles of the world to try to track down ultra-exotic, pungent and forbidden fruits, such as the durian, tarap, bullock’s heart, atemoya, pitabu and cainito.
Tongue: The tongue is one of the best organs at healing itself in the body. Unlike other organs, it can heal when wet. Though we do some pretty extreme things to our tongues (hot drinks, ice, curries) we need it to be fit enough to taste and alert us to potential poisons. It constantly regenerates itself. The average life for a taste bud is only ten days, so within a month your entire taste apparatus is refreshed. I marinade on this regularly, as all our work is geared towards giving people extraordinary tongue-based experiences.
Books: We draw a fair bit of inspiration from history. Bags of time is spent in The London Library checking out historic cookery books – Alexis Soyer is one of our food idols. He was a Victorian version of Jamie Oliver, with books, magazines, products, restaurants and celebrity fans. He also created the world’s most fantastic restaurant, which included ice caves with stuffed foxes, a medieval banqueting hall for 2,000 and a grotto where you had to go through a waterfall to enter.
Banana ripening chart: Consult the chart for maximum sales potential. When you are working on selling something in, be it a story or banana, timing is essential.
Pig’s head: Here’s a photo from our recent publication, Tutti Frutti with Bompas & Parr and Friends, about the majesty of fruit salad. We used to use a lot of pigs’ heads as meaty and affordable party decorations. In Italy, hundreds and thousands are called tutti frutti.
Epic Meat: To create work it’s important to slam different knowledge and genres together. We’re collaborating with the crew from Heavy Metal Bowling to host a face-off between metal, bowling and BBQ. It’ll be so hairy and muscular you can gorge on it. This picture captures the ethos. We asked legendary illustrators Julie and Boris Vallejo, responsible for Conan the Barbarian and the film posters for Barbarella, Evil Dead and many more, to depict us in the studio as barbarians. It gives me great pleasure.
Scroll through the gallery above to view Sam Bompas' creative inspiration.