With a headline like Cupcakes and Diet Coke, you know it’s going to be a good post! This all started a few weeks ago at a friend’s house when I saw this framed on his counter:
I exclaimed, “OHMYGOSH, where on earth did you get that?!” She told me about this website called cakespy.com. The artist, Jessie Oleson, centers her art around the ever-so-cute “Cuppie.” After checking out her site, I found this:
If you’ve been part of the Diabetes Online Community, or DOC, for very long, you can understandably see why I was so excited. I felt sure other diabetics had inspired the artist’s work, but I was wrong. I was the first type 1 diabetic from the DOC to reach out to Jessie. Personally, I think we should make her an honorary, unicorn-badge-carrying member of the DOC! After browsing through her website, I wanted to know more. So here are a few Q & As about CakeSpy and the fabulous artist behind the work.
Dia-Beat-This: So I understand you are an artist, when did food and desserts fall into the mix? (pun intended)
CakeSpy: They’ve always been in the mix. My mother is a children’s book illustrator, but also an extremely avid home baker. Doesn’t that make it so clear how I met my destiny as a dessert-themed artist and writer?
Dia-Beat-This: Why sweets and desserts?
CakeSpy: I’ve had a lifelong obsession with sweets, both as delicious treats and visually as appealing objects. My mother says (and she’s pretty trustworthy!) that “chocolate” was my first word after “mama” and “papa”. It’s as much a part of me as a birthmark or a freckle; so when you ask me “why sweets and desserts” – it’s like, there has never been any other way!
Dia-Beat-This: Tell me about the upcoming book and what sort of things people can find in it?
CakeSpy: A collection of my absolute awesomest (read: butter and sugar-packed!) recipes and tons of totally sweet and witty illustrations.
Dia-Beat-This: When did you decide to open the shop in Seattle and what can people find there beyond your online store?
CakeSpy: I opened the store in April of 2010, and you can find a greater variety of my original artwork in the retail location, as well as work by tons of awesome local Seattle artists. You will not, however, find a retail bakery. As my postman says, “all of the sweetness, none of the crumbs.”
Dia-Beat-This: How do you make your art meaning what medium are your prints and is everything original?
CakeSpy: My paintings are mostly done in watercolor and pen and ink on bristol-finish vellum paper.
Dia-Beat-This: Cupcakes seem to have taken off during the past several years, what made you focus on cupcakes in particular? And bacon?
CakeSpy: Well, cupcakes have always had a special meaning to me, as my mother would always make us a batch whenever she was making a layer cake as a sort of “immediate gratification” treat. So to me, they were always a very sweet treat that just kind of represented a sweet bonus in everyday life. And as for bacon – who doesn’t like bacon? Even vegetarians love bacon, I am convinced. Even if it’s just the visual of it in cartoon form.
Dia-Beat-This: And how did you come up with the idea to pair a cupcake with a Diet Coke?
CakeSpy: That was actually a custom order, commissioned by a famous cake blogger, Bakerella!
Dia-Beat-This: Tell us about Cuppie and how he came to be your adorable mascot?
CakeSpy: I’ve been drawing characters with funny faces since I was very little. Cuppie is a very special character though. He (yes, it’s a he, although I realize that this is fraught with inconsistency in my work) was made with a little bit of leftover cake batter left from making a full layer cake. As a result, he’s always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about not being his own complete cake, and has taken on all of these adventures in an effort to define who he really is. Not unlike all of us in life, I suppose–the little guy is just trying to find his place in the world!
Dia-Beat-This: What was your first thought when you realized a type 1 diabetic was enamored with your cupcake-centric shop?
CakeSpy: It made me happy, because my goal is to make people’s lives sweeter both literally and figuratively, so to hear that a type 1 diabetic is enamored of my work means that the “virtual sweetness” aspect seems to be working!
Dia-Beat-This: Do you have any connections to diabetes?
CakeSpy: See previous question – that’s my first connection!
Dia-Beat-This: What’s your ultimate goal for Cake Spy? Beyond Seattle?
CakeSpy: I’d eventually like to move back to the East Coast, which is where I am originally from, and I have truly enjoyed the book process, so I am sincerely hoping to take on more book projects!
Dia-Beat-This: Anything else I didn’t touch on you’d like people to know about your business or yourself?
CakeSpy: Here’s a little bit of fun trivia: I’m actually an art school dropout.
SPECIAL THANKS to CakeSpy, Cuppie and Jessie for letting me intrude in their lives for a few days. My shopping cart is full at CakeSpy.com, and I will definitely be ordering the new book! Thanks again Jessie for humoring me for this post! If I ever make it out to visit my friend Dana, I’ll make sure to stop by and say hello!