Her Audubon series on the "North American Twinkie (twinkopus hostus)" includes illustrations of three "important subspecies — Cream-bellied Twinkie, Strawberry-throated Twinkie, Golden-backed Twinkie" — as well as writings describing the "birds" and explaining their migration patterns.
"Twinkies radiate out from the spring St. Louis breeding area to the summer nesting habitats throughout the world. Populations are heaviest in the North American 7-11 meridian," she wrote. St. Louis and 7-Eleven stores both share a long history with Hostess and its brands.
She updated the Audubon series after Hostess shut down operations in November: "It went from being the most popular snack cake in the world to sudden extinction due to consumption by raptors — capitalist vultures (cathartes wallstreetidae)."
Her painting titled "The Last Snack" is a takeoff of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" featuring Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other Hostess products at a table with the same arrangement and background as da Vinci's classic.
Her parody of a "girly" calendar from an auto body shop features a partially undressed "Miss Twinkie" standing next to her Harley.
The artwork reflects the offbeat sense of humor of a woman who by day creates special effects animation for Reno-based International Game Technology, one of the world's largest slot machine makers.
Steven High, executive director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla., said he finds Peppin's artwork — and use of Twinkies as a metaphor to explore various subjects — clever, humorous and imaginative.
"In some ways, she takes this kind of silly item and treats it as a cultural artifact and imagines it as a subject of scientific studies," he said. "She's an excellent illustrator and the way she pulls these (works) together is amazing. They're fascinating and draw you in, even though the subject matter is unusual."