Flowers for spring? Groundbreaking, we know. Yet we think you’ll find something fresh among the winners of our recent Botanicals open call art competition. Balancing thorny themes like environmental degradation with the spectacular beauty of flora and fauna, this genus of Artrepreneur artists finds their talents in full bloom.
What is the history of botanical art?
Decorating with botanical art
As the proliferation of house plants proves, bringing the outdoors indoors is a popular decorating move. But what about those of us with black thumbs? From traditional to contemporary decorating styles, botanical art is a crowd pleaser that adds color and pop to any room.
Fans of the grandmillenial aesthetic have embraced vintage botanical illustration à la Redouté. A gallery wall of botanical prints in matching frames works in almost any room and can be tailored to any color palette by selecting complementary florals. Some decorators hunt for published books of botanical illustration to frame; you could also consider purchasing prints in a series by the same artist, or mixing and matching with a unified color scheme (such as banana leaves and dramatic monstera).
Want to take botanical art a step further? Look to original botanical art from these Artrepreneur Open Call winners for some plants you don’t have to talk to (unless you want to. We don’t judge.)
Growing beyond the borders of traditional botanical art
The Botanical Open Call Art Competition winners draw from the rich history of botanical art with their own hybrid forms of expression.
- Inspired by cherished childhood memories of summer strawberry picking, McKenzie Allison Floyd created her winning work “Shelf Life” (pictured above) in June 2020 as she was quarantining at her parents’ place. “I was experiencing, for the first time in many years, spring and summer at the farm that I still call home,” Floyd writes. “[This piece] addresses the dichotomies inherent to each organism’s existence – life and death, growth and decay – and the delicate balance between them that humans constantly try to manipulate.”
- Katleen Van der Gucht’s Traces might echo most back to vintage botanical arts origins. Her work incorporates collected botanical material and is imbued with the artist’s hope to share the magic and fragility of plants during a time of environmental threats. It has a loose feeling of an antique painted photograph, with a sort of plaster circus of wonders and curiosities vibe, said Artrepreneur curator-at-large Michael Porten.
- Chops. Chops. Chops. If you want to see what can be done with a bit of pigment on the end of a hairy stick, look no further, Porten said of Celt Duk’s Timeless depiction of a fiery rose, rendered in oil paints.
- Polish and German artist Monika Deimling, an interdisciplinary artist working with photography, embroidery, and art film, created abstract botanical art in a series, including this winning untitled work. “You don’t need a lot of color to make something colorful, and sometimes it takes a chaotic interpretation to be succinct,” Porten said. “Add a dash of whimsy in your visual attitudes to let folks know the gravitas of your endeavors carries with it a slapstick suggestion to not take ourselves too seriously.”
As these Open Call Winners show, botanical art is about more than just beauty. Which one is your favorite? What botanical art do you love to decorate with? Let us know in the comments below.
Jordan Baker (b. 1981) is an artist and curator living and working in the Hudson Valley, New York. Jordan was born on a naval base in Winterpark, Florida. She attended Tufts University, and received a BFA in Art History from Syracuse University, and an MFA in mixed media from SUNY Albany.