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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — You could say Mike Geno likes cheese. “I think most people, when they discover that I paint cheese, they ask, how do I make the cheese stick to it?” Mike said in his East Kensington studio. “And I have to re-word it.”
The Philadelphia artist is known for his cheese portraits: “There’s amazing cheese going on in this country, and no one’s really paying attention to it or aware of it.”
He is on a mission to paint cheese from every state in the country so he can better represent cheesemakers.
“Where are we at now?” asked CBS3’s Chandler Lutz.
“We’re really close to completion!” Geno said. “It’s taken years.”
The day Chandler visited Geno, he was just about to paint cheese made in state No. 48, Arkansas: three balls of Caillou Noir with a creamy white interior and rolled in black pepper.
“So the brush strokes, I can really play with the texture,” Geno said.
Geno has painted almost 360 cheese paintings to date. Many hang on his studio wall:
“California, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, Minnesota … it keeps going,” Geno said. “I have a Hawaiian cheese that actually has a squid ink brie. It’s got squid ink in it.”
Fans can follow his progress on his online cheese map at MikeGeno.com. Through this project, Geno has been able to connect with cheesemakers all over the country and establish himself in the cheese community.
“People were excited,” Geno said, “because the art world and the cheese world hadn’t really combined, and they were excited for this.”
Geno works hard to make sure he honors the cheese creation in every work of art. For this reason, we are giving him 3 Cheers.
“My art is really about another person’s art,” Geno said. “It’s my way of honoring a cheesemaker who’s making an artisanal work that is really difficult. It’s complex.”
As of this writing, Geno has two states to go: Mississippi and Louisiana.
You can learn more about Mike Geno’s art, here.