By Tanya Silverman
“The Uncurled Prehensile Tail of this West Australian Seahorse is a Sign of Confidence in his Swimming Ability.” Photo courtesy of Andy Huot.
Sometimes we find inspiration from the places we least expect it. For mechanical engineer Andy Huot, the muses began speaking to him through a crinkly bag of junk food. With that, Cheese Curls of Instagram was born.
“I would have expected maybe to get a patent on [the] invention I finished just before this cheese curl art thing started, but something completely different stemmed from it,” he says of his popular Instagram account, which features close-up images of Cheetos that resemble anything from a hammerhead shark to a T-Rex to athletes throwing footballs.
“I’d rather spend my time on this art than pursue any patents right now,” Huot explains.
Committed for months, Huot focused his more recent posts on developing written captions to accompany the cheesy snack images. He cultivates humorous narratives like “After Urinating on their Subordinates to Assert Dominance, these Two Monkeys Give Each Other a High Five,” or, “By Means of Natural Selection, Life has Flourished in the Evolutionary History of Primates and the Emergence of Homo Sapiens as a Distinct Species of Hominids.”
While Huot says he always thinks creatively in his career, Cheese Curls of Instagram acts as an outlet for him to explore and showcase his writing skills. Plus, he was able to apply his knowledge of physics and engineering to design a special rig for his phone to take the pictures.
Huot, who eats well and exercises regularly, admits his Cheeto-bag-a-week project makes maintaining a healthy lifestyle slightly more difficult.
“I do extra cardio to compensate and I really only end up eating around two-thirds of the Cheetos that I buy,” he says. “The rest are saved for further observation.“
As for his greater outlook, Huot claims that his work with Cheetos has increased his pareidolia, as he’s become more prone to noticing faces in other textured items due to all of the curls he examines.
In the future, Huot is “seriously considering remastering some of my favorite posts with a high quality SLR camera and an improved photography rig,” possibly to transfer to prints or even for a book.
“I could really see this art hanging in homes and businesses,” he predicts.