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Profile: Hanoch Piven

From Princess Di to Howard Stern, the artist uses food to sculpt celebrity likenesses

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For some artists, finding the right materials means scoring quality watercolors. For Hanoch Piven, 37, it boils down to picking the proper pickle. Using produce, plungers, and everyday sundries, this School of Visual Arts grad has created a grab bag of mouthwatering illustrations for EW since 1993. For Howard Stern’s proboscis, Piven (who lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, Janet Stein, and his children, Jakub, 6, and Ana, 1) decided that size mattered. ”He mentions all the time his penis, always referring to it as being very small. I [wanted] to choose the right pickle…one that wouldn’t look too big, but yet captured his nose,” says Piven, who relishes this illo even if Stern did not (he recalls that the King of All Media carped about it on the air). His depiction of Charles and Diana, however, still gnaws at him: ”Charles came out well. I used a cutting board to do him — he was very stiff.” As for Diana, ”I used some candy and decided she had this huge nose. It’s one of the portraits that was never recognized by anybody.” More successful was his Roseanne, wherein he used a single Oreo cookie for her mouth. ”Just to have one facial feature and [still] convey the likeness,” he sighs. ”I wish all my pieces would be like that.”