Nathan Wyburn poses with his Einstein masterpiece. Nathan Wyburn poses with his Einstein masterpiece. Nathan Wyburn poses with his Einstein masterpiece. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Artist creates Einstein portrait made entirely of Smarties

With Andy Warhol-inspired whimsy, one of the 20th century's smartest men pops to life.

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the name Albert Einstein? Smart.

So it seems quite apropos that an artist who toys in unusual mediums would create a portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist using nothing more than a Nestle candy called Smarties.

"Smarties just seemed so fitting as he was a smartie pants!" Nathan Wyburn told From the Grapevine. "I like humor in my work and it's so colorful, too." There was also a technical reason for the choice. "I needed to varnish it for it to keep, unlike much of my work that's perishable."

Wyburn created the painting throughout the week at Techniquest, a science museum in Cardiff, Wales, where he lives. "Parents, children and staff were constantly chatting to me and complimenting the work," he said. "The grand unveiling had a brilliant reaction, and social media appears to think it's one of my best yet."

This was far from the first time he's done this. The 26-year-old once made a portrait of Justin Bieber using nothing more than ramen noodles. And he once painted actress Judy Garland as Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" using Rainbow Drops sweets inspired by the film's iconic "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" song. For Wyburn, who released his debut book "Not That Kind of Art" last year, it's all a labor of love that he's been hard at work at for years.

A former fine arts student, Wyburn showed off his literal culinary arts skills with toast back in 2011 during an audition for "Britain's Got Talent," which you can watch in the video below:

For decades, Einstein has played an outsize role in the arts. His pop culture cameos not only play off his historical status, but also his iconic appearance. “Einstein's face is the most recognizable face worldwide,” said Hanoch Gutfreund, the director of the Albert Einstein archives at Hebrew University in Israel, a school the physicist helped establish. "If one can say anything about this, the interest in Einstein increases with time. It's greater now."

In the past year alone, two different robots – one in Washington, D.C. and one in Taiwan – created artistic masterpieces of Einstein. And a woman in England won a cake competition for baking a dessert in the shape of Einstein's head. "There's no more iconic figure than Einstein," Dawn Butler, the police officer-turned-cake decorator, told From The Grapevine. "I love his dedication. I love the fact that he didn't take life too seriously. I'm often referred to as the cake genius. So it was kind of tongue in cheek that I would create a genius in cake. It was really good fun."

With hair made of noodles, this cake in the shape of an Einstein bust was a winner.With hair made of noodles, this cake in the shape of an Einstein bust was a winner. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

When he's not painting for himself, Wyburn paints on commission for advertisements, corporate events and for his celebrity clientele. The Einstein candy portrait will be on permanent display at Techniquest, the museum where he created it.

So what's next for Wyburn? "I have about 200 ideas I want done over the next few years," he told us. "The beauty of what I do is that it's inspired by current pop culture events, so I don't really know what's going to be happening next week that I can draw influence from. It keeps it exciting for me and my followers. I've always felt – in a very Warhol-like way – as a pop culture artist it's my duty to mark events through time. Looking back, my work over the past six years is like a diary of events."

Case in point was this past Monday night when Wyburn heard about the passing of beloved actor Gene Wilder. He thought Wilder, who famously played the candy maker Willy Wonka on film, would make for a next great portrait. Which is exactly what he did – paint Gene Wilder using nothing more than melted chocolate. Thankfully for us, Wyburn recorded the process, which you can watch in the video below:

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Related Topics: Albert Einstein