#6 Exotique eroticInterview

 Flowers
exploding      with excitement

Animated, eccentric and exceptionally skilled. Floral artist Azumo Makoto devotes his entire being to expressing the inner beauty of plants and flowers. In this way he celebrates their existence. His passionate love for nature knows no bounds, and is expressed in his unusual, beautiful floral works _______.

What beauty do you see in flowers?

Azuma Makoto: “The connection between flowers and human beings has been expressed in all sorts of different ways over the centuries. In Japan, fossils of flowers have been found in graves from the Jomon era (some 10,000 years ago) that show that people viewed plants as something holy. Flowers were also an essential part of life for the ancient Mayas. They believed that the power of flowers arose from their bond with others, and they could therefore not fully bloom alone. That’s a lovely thought. A flower starts as a bud, in order to bloom and then to wither and allow her seed to fall on the ground as nutrition for the soil. During her limited existence she undergoes many changes and fulfils her short life without words. The pure beauty of this existence touches people deep in their heart.”

Azuma for Dries van Noten ss 2017

Ephemeral beauty
Dries van Noten's SS2017 collection contains surprising combinations, a rich colour palette of turquoise, copper and khaki, and a beautiful range of floral prints. The collection was inspired by spontaneity. “We effectively cut the clothing to pieces and threw a host of flower prints at it,” says Van Noten. The long line of iced towers with frozen flowers served as an eyecatcher and fascinating decor for the catwalk. A fantastic botanical eruption reminiscent of the Dutch Old Masters, created by Azumo Makoto, friend of Van Noten and floral artist.

What beauty do you see in flowers?

Azuma Makoto: “The connection between flowers and human beings has been expressed in all sorts of different ways over the centuries. In Japan, fossils of flowers have been found in graves from the Jomon era (some 10,000 years ago) that show that people viewed plants as something holy. Flowers were also an essential part of life for the ancient Mayas. They believed that the power of flowers arose from their bond with others, and they could therefore not fully bloom alone. That’s a lovely thought. A flower starts as a bud, in order to bloom and then to wither and allow her seed to fall on the ground as nutrition for the soil. During her limited existence she undergoes many changes and fulfils her short life without words. The pure beauty of this existence touches people deep in their heart.”

Flowercast

Lilium
Rosa
Zantedeschia
Vanda
Tulipa Parrot
Hippeastrum
Gerbera
Fresia
Passionflower
Orchid
Phalaenopsis
Paeonia
Paphiopedilum
Iris
Cymbidium
Chrysanthemum
Camapnula
Ammi
Nigella
African violet
Nepenthes

“I USE PLANTS THAT ARE BURSTING WITH EXCITEMENT, THAT FEEL AS IF THEY COULD EXPLODE AT ANY MOMENT.”
“I USE PLANTS THAT ARE BURSTING WITH EXCITEMENT, THAT FEEL AS IF THEY COULD EXPLODE AT ANY MOMENT.”

Which flower symbolises a high point in your life?

Azuma Makoto: “Every plant has its own appeal for me, so I can’t choose one. I prefer to use plants that are bursting with excitement, that feel as if they could explode at any moment.”

The scent of fresh flowers…

Azuma Makoto: “For me, the scent of flowers is the scent of all my treasured memories.”

It’s your mission to make works of art with flowers which are visually impressive. You want to make something that takes clients’ breath away the minute they see it. Can you give an example?

Azuma Makoto: “Flowers are an entity which is already beautiful simply by blooming in a field. We humans remove them from the natural state by cutting them off. And then we bind those flowers together. It’s therefore necessary to transform it into something even more beautiful, so that the life of these flowers and plants will not be meaningless. By placing them in an extreme situation, such as outer space or a desert, I can give them a special beauty by showing them in a way that no one has ever seen them before. That form of expression is the only viable option for me.”

What is the most impressive flower installation you have seen?

Azuma Makoto: “I am surrounded by flowers and plants every day, which fade on a daily basis and are different from day to day. Every hour, every 10 minutes and even every second: every moment changes their form. I try to seize all those manifestations and present them in various forms. Naturally I usually use flowers that are in full bloom, but last summer - for example - I traced the perishing of flowers over a period of a month for Drop Time. For Box Flowers I arrange flowers in the shape of the box, and allowed them to wither and perish. This released a fluid that resembled blood which attract insects. Whatever discoveries I make, I shall never exhaust my interest in plants.”

It’s your mission to make works of art with flowers which are visually impressive. You want to make something that takes clients’ breath away the minute they see it. Can you give an example?

Azuma Makoto: “Flowers are an entity which is already beautiful simply by blooming in a field. We humans remove them from the natural state by cutting them off. And then we bind those flowers together. It’s therefore necessary to transform it into something even more beautiful, so that the life of these flowers and plants will not be meaningless. By placing them in an extreme situation, such as outer space or a desert, I can give them a special beauty by showing them in a way that no one has ever seen them before. That form of expression is the only viable option for me.”

What is the most impressive flower installation you have seen?

Azuma Makoto: “I am surrounded by flowers and plants every day, which fade on a daily basis and are different from day to day. Every hour, every 10 minutes and even every second: every moment changes their form. I try to seize all those manifestations and present them in various forms. Naturally I usually use flowers that are in full bloom, but last summer - for example - I traced the perishing of flowers over a period of a month for Drop Time. For Box Flowers I arrange flowers in the shape of the box, and allowed them to wither and perish. This released a fluid that resembled blood which attract insects. Whatever discoveries I make, I shall never exhaust my interest in plants.”

Flowercast

Lilium
Rosa
Zantedeschia
Vanda
Tulipa Parrot
Hippeastrum
Gerbera
Fresia
Passionflower
Orchid
Phalaenopsis
Paeonia
Paphiopedilum
Iris
Cymbidium
Chrysanthemum
Camapnula
Ammi
Nigella
African violet
Nepenthes

In what unexpected location would you like to place flowers one day?

Azuma Makoto: “For my project In Bloom I created a series around the idea that plants do not achieve their ultimate state in the ‘present’. I look at what image that creates for me, and on the basis of that I reveal the beauty and the possibilities. In 2014 that was outer space, last year I floated a large floral sculpture in the middle of the ocean, at the moment I’m researching how I can use the deep ocean as a source of inspiration. I have also arranged various floral works in the desert, on a glacier, a geyser and other places where almost no one goes, such as the ruins of a power station.”

To avoid any conflict with the true colours of flowers, you have the fundamental rule that all the staff in your flower shop may only wear white, black and grey. Why is that?

Azuma Makoto: “The flower is the star of the show, and we are merely background players who make her beauty visible. That’s why we don’t wear any colours that could clash or impede the flower’s fabulous colours. In white, black or grey we are colourless. Everything in my studio, the people and the space, are dressed in these monochrome colours.”

Who would you like to work on a flower installation with?

Azuma Makoto: “I don’t have any specific person in mind with whom I would like to collaborate. It’s the flowers that are the eternal motif. Paintings, textiles, fashion, photographs... the representation of the flower is being explored in all these different fields. For me, that flower and what I try to express with it is all that is in my mind, whilst at the same time I want to create a world that no one has been able to represent before. I can otherwise see almost nothing with which I can identify within the work of other people in other fields. In terms of instinct, that of a sushi chef perhaps corresponds most closely to what I do. Both a florist and a sushi chef make use of the life that nature gifts to them, and it’s their calling to transform that life into a work of art (in the case of a sushi shifts, it’s flavour).”

To avoid any conflict with the true colours of flowers, you have the fundamental rule that all the staff in your flower shop may only wear white, black and grey. Why is that?

Azuma Makoto: “The flower is the star of the show, and we are merely background players who make her beauty visible. That’s why we don’t wear any colours that could clash or impede the flower’s fabulous colours. In white, black or grey we are colourless. Everything in my studio, the people and the space, are dressed in these monochrome colours.”

“THE FLOWER IS THE STAR OF THE SHOW, AND WE ARE MERELY THOSE WHO MAKE HER BEAUTY VISIBLE_______.”

Who would you like to work on a flower installation with?

Azuma Makoto: “I don’t have any specific person in mind with whom I would like to collaborate. It’s the flowers that are the eternal motif. Paintings, textiles, fashion, photographs... the representation of the flower is being explored in all these different fields. For me, that flower and what I try to express with it is all that is in my mind, whilst at the same time I want to create a world that no one has been able to represent before. I can otherwise see almost nothing with which I can identify within the work of other people in other fields. In terms of instinct, that of a sushi chef perhaps corresponds most closely to what I do. Both a florist and a sushi chef make use of the life that nature gifts to them, and it’s their calling to transform that life into a work of art (in the case of a sushi shifts, it’s flavour).”

Which flowers make you happy?

Azuma Makoto: “All flowers.”

“THE FLOWER IS THE STAR OF THE SHOW, AND WE ARE MERELY THOSE WHO MAKE HER BEAUTY VISIBLE_______.”

Which flowers make you happy?

Azuma Makoto: “All flowers.”

Name a city that you believe is working well with flowers and plants.

Azuma Makoto: “Tokyo has the image of being a metropolis with very little greenery. But in fact it’s a city which is 40 percent green. Hence there is the Imperial Palace and environs with its parks and gardens where you can enjoy the splendour of the four Japanese seasons. There are also major corporations working on urban development that are conducting environmental research, and there are also more and more companies promoting the symbiosis between city and nature. I think this is a very good thing, and I believe that it’s a trend that will become more and more prevalent.”

Click here for the full video about Azuma at Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk

Name a city that you believe is working well with flowers and plants.

Azuma Makoto: “Tokyo has the image of being a metropolis with very little greenery. But in fact it’s a city which is 40 percent green. Hence there is the Imperial Palace and environs with its parks and gardens where you can enjoy the splendour of the four Japanese seasons. There are also major corporations working on urban development that are conducting environmental research, and there are also more and more companies promoting the symbiosis between city and nature. I think this is a very good thing, and I believe that it’s a trend that will become more and more prevalent.”

If you think of a field full of flowers, what flowers do you think of?

Azuma Makoto: “I think of a vast field of sunflowers somewhere near Barcelona in Spain. It was at the end of the summer, a beautiful Indian Summer day. That image of those almost wilted sunflowers which were partly turned away from me is still burned in my memory _______.”

Click here for the full video about Azuma at Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk

Text
Rosanne Loffeld

Photography
Hotel Rebel / Mathilde Karrèr, Azuma Makoto

If you think of a field full of flowers, what flowers do you think of?

Azuma Makoto: “I think of a vast field of sunflowers somewhere near Barcelona in Spain. It was at the end of the summer, a beautiful Indian Summer day. That image of those almost wilted sunflowers which were partly turned away from me is still burned in my memory _______.”

A selection from Azuma Makoto's timeline, @azumamakoto