Sweet Whimsy

Jenice Johnson brings candy into focus.

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Bored on the job? Stuck in a creative rut? Try taking pictures of junk food. It worked for Jenice Johnson.

Inspiration struck the 2003 alumna when she found herself snacking on gummy bears while looking at a stack of proofs in her Dallas Morning News office. Lost in the tedium of her work, the English graduate and former Shorthorn staffer looked down at the bright blue treat in her hand.

From that pop of color, art was born.

I swept aside the proofs and started taking pictures. I realized: ‘I love this.’ Then I just wondered what else I could stick the gummy bears on.”

Since then, Johnson has photographed gummy bears in every color in a variety of places and situations—nestled in a rose, looking in the mirror, impaled on a pincushion, lit by Christmas lights, holding tiny cotton “snowballs.”

I always loved gummy bears, especially when I was a kid,” she says. “And when I first photographed that blue gummy bear, I just felt like I had found a different concept.” Her whimsical prints and greeting cards are available at www​.jenicesgummyworld​.com.

While she once sampled her art with gusto, Johnson now primarily eats a paleo diet consisting of sustainably cultivated foods.

I wanted to be healthier, and going paleo changed my life,” says the assistant director of marketing and communications for Tanka Bar, a Native American health food business in South Dakota.

Though she no longer eats gummy bears, the rewards of her photography are still plenty sweet.

I just love the reaction these little guys get. It brings out the kid in everyone and puts a smile on their faces. That’s what’s important, making people happy.”

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