The Amazing Geoffroy Mottart

I had the pleasure of speaking with Belgium artist, Geoffroy Mottart about his floral works. He places beards and wigs made of vibrant colors on public statues. With the generous French translation help of Carmen Kingsley, here is our interview.

ES: How would you describe your work?

GM: I style statues with floral compositions, because I feel like I am building a border between this long lasting art, anchored in time and ephemeral, but equally magnificent flowers.

I have been working with flowers for more than 20 years, I’m fond of the artistic creations created with them, however I love just as much the timelessness of the “Sculpture” that exists since the man discovered art .

This “border” between the ephemeral floral art and the lasting art of sculpture affects me a lot.

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Jean Delville – Photo from Geoffroy Mottart

ES: What made you decide to create these flower pieces on public sculptures?

GM: A book called International Floral Art (http://fleurbookshop.com/international-floral-art-16-17.html) spotted me during my participation in florist competitions and asked me to send pictures of my artwork and that’s where things started to fall into place.

ES: You talk about the choice of statue for your work. You mention finding the right kind of statue for your work. Could you expand on that?

GM: It is not so much that I look for a very specific statue, instead I look for statues that could become nearly human when I style them. I appreciate statues that have subtle traits, that have depth to them.

ES: How do you choose the flowers for your pieces? Color, shape, meaning?

GM: I choose flowers based on several criteria:

– The character and delicacy of the statue’s features

– The statue´s color and material.

– The place where it is located.

– The season.

ES: How long does it take to create a piece? How long does it take to install a piece on a statue?

GM: I estimate that for the entire creation of a piece of art; it takes me about ten hours, the installation generally doesn’t take so much time, I work a lot in my workshop.

ES: I read that you take the pieces down after a few days because the flowers will fade and die. You said that keeping them up would give a different meaning to the piece. Could you explain a little more?

GM: My goal is to highlight the statues, and to leave the dead flowers on them would make the passerby much less interested in appreciating them. I am someone who loves beautiful things, color, life; and so it would be senseless to let the flowers rot.

ES: How do you want people to react to your work?

GM: I am not interested in a particular reaction, just the fact that people notice my work is an end in itself, since my goal is to make them rediscover what surrounds them.

ES: Would you call yourself a street artist?

GM: Yes, I define myself as an artist working in public space.

Thanks to Geoffroy Mottart for the interview and thanks to Carmen Kingsley for her amazing French translating work.

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Photo by Geoffroy Mottart

Macy’s Flower Show 2014

Yesterday, I went to the Macy’s Flower show at the Macy’s Flagship in the Loop. Macy’s Flower Show is a wonderful transformation of a NY tradition. I was introduced to the Macy’s Flower show in NY several years ago. It had these amazing windows with entire forests of flowers. There were exquisite dresses made from lilies and orchids displayed in the windows. Inside Macy’s, there were orchids everywhere. There would also be a sculpture made of flowers. It changed every day or every week. Once it was a can of paint and a paint brush all made from bright red flowers. The show was perfect for Springtime and Easter.

So several years ago, when I still worked in the loop, I saw signs for the Macy’s Flower show here in Chicago. I was excited since I really love good window displays. So I went and the windows were really lackluster. The piece inside was forgettable. And there were no orchids. At first, I thought, “Wow, NY really does do it better.”

But then I saw signs about something to do with the flower show on the 9th floor. So I followed. I got up there and it was a strange place. There wasn’t much on the 9th floor but human resources. There are no other departments, lots of unused space. But I dutifully followed the signs and then there was an explosion of color. There is a secret room filled to the brim with flowers. That year, the theme was Brazil. There were orchids everywhere. It was simply incredible. There were little ponds, a trickling fountain. I just wanted to sit there and smell the wonderful plants. I love how it transformed from store windows into NY into this hidden garden in Chicago.

Last year, the theme was India so it was flowers with  bright shiny fabrics, lanterns, and even a statue of an elephant. There were orchids galore. There were some appropriate ambient sounds and several ponds and a fountain. I wanted to sit there and contemplate the world.

This year, the theme was “Secret Garden.” it is a little all over the place with the theme. I think the Secret Garden refers to the location of this garden, so tucked away high in this giant building. You walk in to topiary of a deer and a horse. There is a statue of a woman wearing an incredible ball-gown made of plants. One section is surrealist themed with a piano with plants growing out of it, rainbow roses hanging from the ceiling. There are male mannequin legs sticking out from the ground with flowers growing out of the soles of the feet. There is even a picture composed of flowers depicting Salvador Dali. And there is an upside down tree, roots, dirt and all. Amazing.

Macy's Flower Show 2014: Dress

Macy’s Flower Show 2014: Dress

Macy's Flower Show 2014: Surrealist vista

Macy’s Flower Show 2014: Surrealist vista

There is an Asian inspired area with lanterns. In another area, there are topiary bushes shaped like chess pieces. It has a sort of British feel to it with a Tudor inspired background. There is another area of urban renewal gardening. There are brightly colored tire planters, and a rooftop garden. THere is even a tea party with flowers growing out of the tea cups and tea pots. Even the seats have friendly cacti on them.  Even if the parts of the garden were fairly eclectic, it was wonderful. I am so starved for nature.

Macy's Flower Show 2014: Flower Tea Party

Macy’s Flower Show 2014: Flower Tea Party

So if you have a chance to go, you should. It’s beautiful and relaxing. it was a boon to my day. The Macy’s Flower Show closes on Sunday, April 6th.

That’s all!