The Lovely Flowers Embarrass Me
This group of work is inspired by poetry by Emily Dickinson, especially:
The lovely flowers embarrass me,
They make me regret I am not a bee.
When asked to do this pop up, I first thought about what my artist soul needs right now: some freedom. Revelry has always given me space to do work that is more personal and less universal than what I do commercially or on the streets. Painting stuff I’ve discovered at thrift stores in some ways is very similar to what I do in my murals, in that it's responsive to a shape or environment. Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I paint florals so much. Flowers are a passive aggressive form of empathy. They come along with life changes. Occasions with intense emotions (when babies are born, to celebrate love, to honor death) come with flowers. Being uncomfortable with emotional vulnerability--remnants of English culture--manifests deeply in my gritty Southern heritage. Bouquets are a socially acceptable tchotcke to acknowledge but sometimes minimize intense emotion. In these occasions, they’re also a completely nonessential expression, like artists during a pandemic. As a person who has a lot of intense and contrasting emotions, flowers in bright and strange hues appear autobiographical in my work as a way for me to work through whatever underlying thoughts and feelings I have going on. It’s my coping strategy that feels like it won’t overwhelm others or bring too much attention on myself. Sometimes it does anyway. Then, I’m embarrassed.