Wheaton College is proud to present The World’s Coolest Dad: David LaFerriere.
LaFerriere is no ordinary dad. By day, he is a graphic designer for Wheaton’s Office of Communications. But by early morning, he is a present-day sandwich bag Picasso.
A father of two, LaFerriere began his sandwich art in May of 2008 as a way to bring life to his sons’ school lunches. Clear plastic sandwich bags were quickly transformed into monsters, insects, mazes and other designs with the help of a few Sharpies and LaFerriere’s creative mind.
LaFerriere stated that his initial inspiration to draw on the sandwich bags was an extension of his masterful creation of “moldy” grilled cheese sandwiches, in which he would playfully use food coloring and butter to create the look of mold on his children’s sandwiches.
When his children started attending school, LaFerriere first attempted sandwich bag art by using food coloring on the bags, but to no avail. It was then that he discovered the magic of Sharpies, and how quickly he could transform a simple bag into a fun piece of art.
His favorite designs include original characters that take the shape of monsters, as well as worm drawings that appear to be crawling right through the sandwich.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, LaFerriere said that the inspiration for his art “comes from whatever may be happening at the time. Could be something we did as a family, a holiday.” Even the bread itself can be inspiration, for “those bubbles in the bread can be like finding shapes in the clouds.”
In order to preserve the memory of each bag before it was tossed away after lunch, LaFerriere began to take pictures of the bags and post them on Flickr.
“I had no idea it would become this big,” LaFerriere commented. After six years, LaFerriere Flickr page has over 22 million views.
In June of 2009, Sharpie discovered LaFerriere’s work and featured him in a blog. From there, LaFerriere’s sandwich bags quickly circulated on the Internet. Sites such as gizmodo.com, shine.yahoo.com, distractify.com, huffingtonpost.com and countless others have featured LaFerriere’s work on their blogs. He has been interviewed by talk shows in South Korea and Australia, and has even been mentioned on The View as The World’s Coolest Dad. His sandwich art will also be displayed in an upcoming museum exhibit in Madrid.
At the end of the day, however, LaFerriere does it solely for his two sons, Evan and Kenny. The drawing process may only take a few minutes in the morning to complete, but the love behind each drawing will last a lifetime.
As for the future, LaFerriere commented that he is “just exploring what can be done.” For now, he is thrilled with all of the kind interest and feedback he receives from family, friends and fans.
LaFerriere’s work is also inspiring other parents to start drawing for their children’s lunches and, as we all can learn, a little creativity can go a long way.