Originally published in Bon Appetit

Growing up at the edge of the British Columbian wilderness gave 32-year-old artist Sharona Franklin an elemental connection to nature. “I would just wander in the woods all the time and pick up plants like wild asparagus and burdock,” she says. “We’d hunt rabbits, catch crawfish, collect freshwater clams, go fishing…”

In her teens, Franklin, who lives with over 20 rare complex systemic diseases, moved alone to Vancouver for medical care, and has since been developing an artistic practice integrating her love for nature with her experience of chronic disability. Among her current projects is @Paid.Technologies, an Instagram account where she posts images of her entrancing gelatin sculptures—slick, semi-translucent works of varying edibility that can take days to create and begin to degrade the moment they’re complete.

“When I started making art I wanted to show the more human aspects of living, and less this facade of design or aesthetics,” Franklin says of her work. “I really wanted to start talking about disability, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals—a lot of my gelatin work is a shrine to cellular use of animals.” 

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© Adrienne Matei 2017