An Amazing Artist - A Happy Medium (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

I'm still stunned by what he did with sauce.


In early September, just before the Labor day weekend, I had the chance to watch an artist at work.  I'm still amazed by what I watched him do that day.

Jason Baalman is pretty humble about his art.  He dismisses his ability to recreate a photo in a piece of original art as fairly run-of-the-mill.   I would have to respectfully disagree.

What's not run-of-the-mill is what he uses to create.  He works in ketchup, Cheetos and now most recently, in BBQ sauce.  That's what he used the day I had a chance to watch him work. 

He just sat there at a table at Front Range BBQ, with three different varieties of BBQ sauce from Front Range BBQ.  I had sent him a picture and he had pre-done the very beginnings of a portrait, with sauce.  Then he spent about 45 minutes shading and coloring and filling in the details...with nothing but the sauce!  He used the bottles instead of brushes, simply squeezing some out then moving it around with the top of the bottle.  Sometimes he'd use a fingertip for a little extra sauce-spreading.  That was it! 

While he worked, we talked. I was constantly worried that I was distracting him.  He said I wasn't, that it helped if he multi-tasked, so he wouldn't over think what he was doing.  Wow.  We talked about how he liked new challenges.  He decided to work in BBQ sauce to celebrate Labor Day and to promote businesses in Old Colorado City.  He lives and works in that area.  He told me that working in an everyday medium, like ketchup or BBQ sauce made what he does approachable for the rest of us....that "anyone can do it".  Again I have to respectfully disagree!  I couldn't do that.

He's pretty well-known for his choices of materials.  His youtube channel has millions of hits, mostly for his ketchup creations.  We talked about what he really wants to be known for.  He wants to use his engineering background to come up with a way to create art in 3D that can be viewed as 3D without any special glasses.  I have a feeling he'll figure out a way to do it..maybe in oils or acrylics, or ink, probably not in ketchup or BBQ sauce!

In the meantime his happy medium is whatever strikes his artist's fancy...sauce now, who knows what down the road.  Whatever he uses his results are remarkable.  Look at the picture he started with next to the portrait he finished with.

Don't you wish you could create something like that?..I do.  Okay, maybe not in BBQ sauce...but in paint or pastels? 

To see more of Jason Baalman;'s work go to his youtube channel,

I thoroughly enjoyed watching an artist at work.  I thoroughly enjoy the fact that I now have a piece of his work in my doesn't even smell like sauce any more.  I can't wait to see what he does next.

If you think his work is unworthy of art admiration....well I'd have to respectfully disagree.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward



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