BLOOM BOX: INTERVIEW WITH FLORAL ARTIST BRITTANY ASCH
Floral artist Brittany Asch describes her process of designing flower arrangements as truly emotionally charged, even “cathartic.” Asch’s designs are backed by the principle of delivering an unspoken gesture between her and her clients. Since founding her own floral studio BRRCH FLORALtext in 2013 she has made a name for herself thanks to a slew of impactful editorial work (see Karlie Kloss with a BRRCH FLORAL bouquet here) as well as with a number as well as select events, not to mention her personal delivery service. Asch draws from a diverse pool of inspiration, from Flemish baroque still lifes to the delicate art of ikebana, always with an eye for unique or underappreciated flower specimen. For PIN–UP, Asch concocted four distinct arrangements representing the four seasons which showed at Sight Unseentext’s OFFSITE, together with Bernard Dubois's vases.
How did interpret the theme of the seasons for the PIN–UP bouquets?
I was trying to think about what the four seasons meant to me. I always like going to a place of nostalgia. There are a lot of factors I need to consider, both visual and emotional, and trying to find the balance between the two. For fall, I knew I wanted to make something really graphic and I knew I didn’t want to have something that had too much of a harvest feeling. Mums are a very autumnal flower they were a great way to bring pastels into the design. For winter I thought about how everyone is always planning on going away some place warm so I went for something really tropical. Tropicals are always great when designing for a piece that has to achieve longevity and that has to always look fresh. For spring, so many things come to mind, the abundance of flesh flowers blooming all over — but what’s beyond that, what brings them to that state? Thinking of clouds and rain and the contrast between the dark clouds opening up to the light. Then, for summer, I wanted to create a box tree hedge such as those you see walking through a garden in Versailles [or in Marqueyssac Gardens on the cover of the current PIN–UP]. So, playing with shape, color, and material while also finding a story that reads well for the different seasons without resorting to translations that are too literal.
When you put together an arrangement, what is the first decision you have to make?
It really depends on the individual job, there are certain things that become more important whether that’s color, longevity, if there’s a graphic quality or if you want it to feel more masculine or maybe blur a line. Quality and freshness of the flowers are of course very important to me. I’m also drawn to things that cast some doubt on whether they’re real or not. I think it’s very important to get people to really look at flowers. When you look at flowers, everyday for years as I do, you start to develop an eye for it. It’s like seeing beautiful women everyday, what is going to separate one from the other is some personality aspect or some unusual feature. I approach flowers in a similar way. I pick out the oddballs, the underappreciated or overlooked, and then I mix them.
Are there flowers or bouquet styles that you prefer to avoid?
It is not that I am consciously trying to avoid something, but I think an aspect of my work is not doing anything that doesn’t feel natural to me. What I love most about what I get to do is the cathartic quality of working with flowers. It is very emotionally charged; you want to be able to give that out with the final bouquets so someone else can experience that. And if it’s thoughtless on your end, how can it be thoughtful on theirs?
What is your favorite season?
Every season has its amazing aspects with specific flowers that come to peak but there are always some challenging aspects. I think winter, if you can get through the challenge of it, can be really special. I have a real fondness for it because it is what drew me to working with tropical flowers, as in getting out of the New York mentality of walking outside and everything is just dead. [Laughs.]
Do you have a favorite flower?
Magnolia grandiflora is really special because it lasts for about a day for you to behold, and then you let it go.
Interview by Natalia Torija.
Photographs by Bernard Dubois.