Digital Floral Collage

One of my favorite art exercises is creating a digital floral collage. It’s something I can always get into if I am feeling a little less than inspired, or short on time. I have a couple of albums of flowers photos, some my own, some from creative commons images. It’s a very playful exercise. I basically just start throwing the images onto a procreate file and start manipulating them. Often I will process the heck out of them using other apps like picsart, and decim8. Sometimes it’s just a throwaway process, kind of like tooling around in your sketchbook to get the juices flowing. Other times I have made some really interesting images. Here is one of my favorites:

It’s a bit problematic in that all the processing starts to degrade the quality. I made this in 2018 and since then, ipad vector apps have come along way, so I might try reworking it with vectors. It’s a good example of how the flowers become something else, something unrecognizable as flowers.

There are also some that are straight up collages, and the flowers are very recognizable. Here are some examples.

Very bold (some might even say garish) colors, and lots of processing. These were made from 2018 to 2021 and are arranged in chronological order. Looking at this group, I can see how my process has evolved to become more distinct. The last one makes use of digitized brushstrokes and also kind of embraces the deterioration of the flowers as they become more processed.

One artist I am always, always inspired by is Petra Cortright. She is an absolute master at throwing some stuff on a digital file and processing the shit out of it. I feel as though I somewhat understand her process, after reading some her interviews, however I am always in awe as to how she makes something so scattered and chaotic look ordered and beautiful. How does she do it? I read a interview of hers a long time ago where she said something like, “I don’t use actual paint. It’s stupid. You can’t copy or paste or undo anything.” I think about that a lot, especially when my inner critic pipes in with, “You know you’re just doing this digital crap because you suck at actual painting.” At any rate, that is what I think about when a work on these collages: Loud random chaos that magically becomes structured beauty. And I tell my stupid, insipid inner art critic to get lost.

Petra Cortright, standing in front of one of her paintings. Photo by Stefan Simchowitz.

So what to do with all of these? I’d like to turn them into physical objects someday. When I’m feeling more adventurous (and flush with cash) I’d like to try printing them on metal or maybe canvas. I also like the idea of turning them into clothes using something like Printful. I actually minted a bunch of them as NFTs last year when I was trying to figure out the whole NFT art process. Sadly, they just sit there on their lonely Opensea outpost, never liked or viewed by anyone. I like the idea of minting more of them but I lack the will for shameless self-promotion that is required for NFT art. In the meantime, I guess I will just keep making more digital floral collage with my ipad.

FLORE V2, an NFT collection on Opensea