An Artist, a Florist & a Passion for Flowers
Amber Creswell Bell
| October 31, 2014
The beauty of working in the creative field is the abundant opportunities that exist to collaborate with other creative types – the sky’s the limit, really. Recent years have seen plenty of fabulously industrious fusions of creative thinking and cross-pollinations of crafts. And they all usually start with a serendipitous meeting, or a casual conversation shared over a wine.
This collaboration is one of those gems. If I were a talented artist (which I’m not) I am fairly sure the colours, textures and personalities of flowers would be my constant muse. Clearly I’m not alone here.
Alesandro Ljubicic is a high profile Sydney artist, known for his bold, highly textured, large-scale abstract oil paintings. Fellow Sydneysider and friend, Sean Cook, is a talented florist of Mr. Cook Flowers fame, known for his signature luxe-style, inspired floral designs for high-profile events, restaurants, fashion shoots, and weddings. Later in November we will see the beautiful work of these two inspired men collide in a collaborative exhibition to be held at Art2Muse in Double Bay. The exhibition will be a celebration of Ljubicic’s paintings – which will all be inspired purely by the creative floral arrangements of Sean Cook.
I had a chat to them both about how this collaboration came to be…
How did the collaboration come about?
Alesandro: It all started when Sean saw one of my paintings in the Art2Muse Gallery window. Katrina, the gallery director, called me and suggested we have a chat to Sean on whether he would be interested in having one of the paintings in his shop front window…
Sean: We hung a piece in the window and within an hour I rang Katrina to tell her we had a buyer – and it was me! From there I met Alex and he told me he had stumbled on to my website and Instagram feed. He had used one of pictures as a reference for a previous work and then suggested we collaborate on his upcoming exhibition at Art2Muse. I couldn’t believe my luck and was so honored to have my work interpreted by such an amazing artist and all round nice-guy.
From then on I would make arrangements for Alex and take them to his studio. Other times he would choose pics from my Instagram feed to paint. I love Alex’s use of exuberant colour and how he applies so much texture to the canvas. His work is full of joy and life.
Life With Plants is our slogan. How/when/why did your lives with plants come about? Why flowers?
Alesandro: For me it all started when a close friend and dentist opened a day surgery… they asked me to paint several paintings for the interior with no particular subject specified but rather a feeling of ‘happy and bright’. That’s where the flowers came into play. Whilst being created with beautiful colours that are beyond description – they also bring joy and emotion to everyone who comes across them.
Now I choose to use flowers as my starting point because I believe it is crucial that the paintings are drawn from real life, which I hope creates something identifiable in the works, but more importantly, is something people can relate to. Flowers are not only real objects taken from real life, that are also beautiful at the same time. This gives me a point of departure where I can really start to experiment with bright colour and bold gesture. The natural beauty of the flowers is something that really intrigues and draws me in, and I guess these paintings a really a translation of that.
Sean: It all began with my grandmother. She lived in the country and had the most beautiful rambling garden. It was full of roses, fruit trees and my most favourite part, the fernery attached to the back of the house. I would spend most school holidays there and would love to see what was flowering, spending time digging around in the dirt and especially watering the most incredible collection of ferns, staghorns and begonias in the fern house. Sometimes I would even find frogs tucked away in there. From there I was always planting annuals at home. Some of my favourites to plant were Iceland poppies and ranunculus.
I was a florist from a very early age. Cutting flowers from our big backyard, always a bit of asparagus ferns that twisted around the light poles then all wrapped up in foil to take to my teachers.
Do you have a favourite plant/flower?
Alesandro: I love magnolias & camellias for their beautiful colour and of course the shape of the multi-layered petals.
Sean: My favourite flower always changes but I love anything with a scent. Especially tuberose, gardenia, lily-of-the-valley, and jasmine. It is just very ironic that my partner is highly allergic to any flower with a smell and I can never have them in the house! When tuberose is in season I will buy bunches and just leave them in my van so I intoxicate my self on their fragrance.
Do you enjoy gardening – or is it the artistic end-product of the outputs of gardening that floats your boats?
Alesandro: I look forward to gardening in the future… but for the moment I love and enjoy the end product of beauty it has to offer.
Sean: I love gardening even though we have small yard. At the moment our house is undergoing a major re-build and one of the most exciting aspects is the garden.
We have Richard Unsworth of Garden Life working on some ideas and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition!
11 – 24 November 2014
launch event: 6pm – 8pm Thursday 13 November 2014.
Art2Muse Gallery (357 New South head Road, Double Bay
Images supplied by Art2Muse Gallery