As It Happens

U.K. woman bruises banana peels to make stunning art

London's Anna Chojnicka has created about 400 works of art by bruising bananas with a seam ripper. She creates the art over time, drawing on the areas of the peel she wants to be darkest, first.

'I don't use a pen or paint or anything,' says Anna Chojnicka, who has created nearly 400 pieces

Anna Chojnicka has taken up drawing as her pandemic hobby — but she's not using a pen or pencil, and her preferred canvas is a banana. From left to right, daffodils, a lion, and a lighthouse on a cliff. (banana_bruiser/Instagram)

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Anna Chojnicka never intended to become a banana artist.

But in March 2020 when she became sick with a suspected case of coronavirus and was self-isolating at her London, England home, she started to go "a little bit stir crazy." 

"The result was banana art," Chojnicka told As It Happens guest host Nil Koksal. "It's now been almost 400 bananas."

Chojnicka shows off one of her 400 works of banana art. (Submitted by Anna Chojnicka)

These are no lazy doodles. She bruises the bananas to create elaborate drawings, which she shares daily on her Instagram page. They encompass everything from a detailed rendition of the Mona Lisa to a sketch of Homer Simpson in a muumuu.

"I don't use a pen or paint or anything," she said. "It's purely by using the peel of the banana."

Chojnicka says it's great to challenge herself to be creative every day. She draws everything, including this collection of women. (banana_brusier/Instagram)

Her tool of choice is a seam ripper, but she said any pointed implement will do. After she draws by pressing into the banana peel, causing it to oxidize or bruise, the marks become darker over time, and she uses that effect to create different shades.

"I don't ... press harder to create a darker line or anything. It's all done in timing," she said. 

"You start with the parts that you want to be the darkest first and then you wait for that to get darker and then you do the slightly lighter parts next."

She says she never intended to become a banana artist, but she's glad she did. Here, she's made a banana octopus, with tentacles made from the split banana peel. (banana_brusier/Instagram)

Chojnicka said what started as a way to pass time during the pandemic has become something more meaningful.

She's taught banana art classes to seniors who are feeling isolated during the pandemic. And she's raised money for FareShare, a U.K. charity that distributes food for people in need and advocates against food waste. 

Chojnicka started making marks on a banana in the early days of the pandemic. A year later, she's got an Instagram page dedicated to her impressive bruised banana art, like this scene of a highway and a rearview mirror. (banana_bruiser/Instagram)

On any given day, she draws what feels right in the moment. She's done landscapes, portraits, political and social justice messages, cartoons, an ode to health-care workers, and more. 

When she's done a piece, she documents it, and then eats the banana. 

"I think people have the idea that I'm, you know, chugging bananas by the sack load. Actually, I have one a day or even one every two days because sometimes I'll do two images on either side of the banana," she said. "So it's pretty manageable."

The project has also helped her connect with people all over the world, she said. 

"It's so exciting for me to be on CBC tonight because I used to live in Ontario," she said, adding that she lived in King City. "Being able to connect with Canadian citizens is a real joy because Canada has a very special place in my heart."

After she's finished her art, like this banana that resembles a dolphin, she eats it. (banana_bruiser/Instagram)

What's more, she's reconnected with a part of herself she thought she'd lost.

"I used to draw a lot as a kid, and through school I did art and I loved it. But as an adult, it's something I neglected. And I think, sadly, that's something I think too many of us do ... We kind of let go of the things that really bring us joy in childhood, that tend to be creative," she said.

"This has been a really nice way of reconnecting with my more artistic side and challenging myself, like on a daily basis, to be imaginative and come up with a new idea."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Katie Geleff. 

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