LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A CalArts student inspired by her “special relationship” with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos put hundreds of pounds of the snack on display this month as part of her master’s thesis project.
The art project, “RED 40,” was on display at the school from March 6 through March 10.
Part of the idea was to call attention to the scarcity of fresh and healthy foods in the artist’s neighborhood of Watts, the artist told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
“Knowing that I live in a food desert, I wanted to use that idea to bombard viewers with a sensory, alien landscape experience,” the artist, Jazmin Urrea, told the newspaper.
To accomplish that goal, Urrea procured about 300 pounds of hot Cheetos in downtown LA’s Piñata District, she told the Signal. (She had reached out to Frito-Lay for a bulk discount, but was turned down).
The exhibit also displayed Cheetos wrappers and xeroxed copies of candy wrappers on the walls.
Urrea said she has a special affinity for Cheetos but that the relationship is complicated. She was once hospitalized after eating too many of the puffed cornmeal snacks, she said.
“I have a special relationship with hot Cheetos,” she told the Signal.
Urrea said she hopes her exhibit raises some awareness of one of hot Cheetos’ signature additives — red dye No. 40.
“The title RED 40 itself came to me from research on the junk foods I was using,” she told the Signal. “[It] is thought to be the cause of allergies and a trigger for hyperactivity in some populations. It is not a health food.”