Illustration: Jason Mecier (Screenshot: Instagram)

Although Gene Wilder turned in dozens of memorable screen performances over the years, he is best known for one role in particular: the eccentric, reclusive confectioner in 1971’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. For the last 45 years, Wilder and Wonka have been synonymous, and even a 2005 Tim Burton remake with Johnny Depp in the role could not change that. So what could be more appropriate than a portrait of Wilder as Wonka made entirely out of candy?

A few weeks back, artist Jason Mecier, whose work is both witty and pop culture savvy, unveiled just such a mosaic at the Giddy Candy Company in San Francisco’s Castro District. The work is gaining new attention now in the wake of Wilder’s death on Monday at 83. As Mecier himself puts it, “My Willy Wonka candy portrait lives on.” From the character’s dapper wardrobe to his enigmatic expression, Mecier has captured it all in pure sugar.

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Here is a photo showing how the mosaic is being displayed at Giddy. The store looks like a hipper, more contemporary version of the sweet shop seen during the “Candy Man” number in Willy Wonka.

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One could scarcely imagine a more fitting home for Mr. Wonka. Giddy’s own promotional blurb sounds like it could have been written by Wonka himself.

We are confectionery specialists. A modern day sweet shop with a unique blend of hard to find specialty items sourced from our own neighbors and from around the world. Some candies are exotic in nature and some are comfortably familiar. Giddy is a wish list of crunchy, chewable, suckable guilty pleasures. A drooling array to tempt our collective sweet tooth.

Not precisely “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” But not too far off from it.

[via Laughing Squid]

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