At first glance, any of the works of Pamela Michelle Johnson could easily be mistaken as photography. And because they appear so realistic and always depict junk food, they induce comfort to the viewer, and may even encourage screen-licking. But the purpose of Johnson’s work is far less playful and lighthearted than it appears.
As a whole, the works are meant to be a commentary on what she calls the “insatiable American appetite.” For example, there is a distinct purpose behind all of the painting’s heightened realism, which Johnson explains as “a mirror to our culture.” The works are also purposefully large scale to reflect “gluttonous quantities of larger than life junk food.” And the use of intense lighting and deep shadows give these paintings a vintage still life feel — perhaps to remind us that American excess is nothing new. Now who wants a PB&J?