Inspirations / Round One
Last week was the International Philadelphia Flower Show. This year was my first opportunity to attend and it was certainly a special occasion and milestone for my career and the potential of the studio.
A couple weeks prior I was asked to gather all my thoughts on how my unique background in Circus Arts has influenced my style and approach to floral design. I had always felt a great connection between the two simply because Circus has been such an integral part of my life. Not only as creative and inspiring career but more importantly has a crucial opportunity to diversify and develop my understanding of the world around me. Naturally, every second of my experience in circus has shaped my approach to design because it has shaped so much of my self.
These thoughts, once assembled, where then transformed into a circus inspired bouquet created by one of the nation's most admired floral designers, Laura Dowling. Her discussion was held at the "designer's Studio" and focused on how different individual backgrounds have influenced an even more individual approach and style of design. It was fascinating. To see how a career in Market Management, Political Science, Mathematics, and Circus all equally influence art in different mediums. It truly was a genuine and inspiring dialogue attended by hundreds of designers, gardeners, and landscapers.
I decided I should share some of these thoughts in this post so as you start to see the studio grow and evolve you can better appreciate what inspires my work and where I get my passion. Therefore, below is a collection of thoughts with some of my favorite images from the show intermixed.
The greater component of my relationship between circus and flowers is MOVEMENT and DEPTH. When creating an acrobatic/aerial work it is crucial to explore the dimensions of the apparatus and the space it inhabits. Although the apparatus is fixed and defines the scope of space it is not limited to its tangible existence. When movement is established above the surface/ground it is liberating and allows us to escape our understanding of "self"as it relates to the world around us. Either as the acrobat or the audience the act of movement is exhilarating. We instantaneously forget we are contained by the pressures of gravity. We are certain to release our inhibitions and find freedom in the familiar fear of falling. Both the fear and freedom arise as we challenge and explore a new space of movement. This is where we begin to understand our depth and the many dimensions of space between us and the surface. As an acrobat/aerialist this space between is the essential playground of our emotions. It is the space when the audience is most connected with you. The time when your art transcends the viewers understanding of the human potential and enlightens their hope of greater potential/possibilities.
This is the very same extension between the emotion of flowers as they relate to the recipient. It is truly the space between the elements that establishes the feeling of freedom and lightness. The space that seems to levitate the spirit and release the feeling of constraint. A sense of escape.
Another great and deep rooted influence in my work is the sense of culture. In the circus you have a very unique opportunity to unite a great diversity of individuals and artists into one ring. Each artists has created a single piece of work that is influenced by their very own culture and environment. As each culture and act is brought together in a single production it is not stripped of it's individuality. It is blended with the uniqueness of other like expressions despite their differences. As each production is composed the thread/story is again created in the time between the acts. Often the clowns make sense of all the "madness" and bring together all the different cultures. These "acts" translate them as one unified piece of work to the audience.
I use this understanding in my design as an opportunity to reach out and blend what might be considered extremes. Despite the reality that each and every flower is it's own 'work of art' and are from completely different parts of the world they come together gracefully in one container. Provided there is a story and a relationship established among their differences they can share in the same story and be appreciated as one by the viewer. Often I challenge myself to incorporate more diversity and blend them with a consistent common thread in order to reach a broader audience. This again is where the space between the elements translates the relationship of the art to the audience.