A crop of artists is reconceptualizing the artifice of faux flowers, creating stunning bouquets that masterfully mimic their real-life counterparts with unexpected materials. The best part? Their beauty never fades.
“Where reality ends and fantasy begins is always a topic in my work,” says Amsterdam-based Natasja Sadi, who revels in combining sugar-paste versions of flowers that ordinarily wouldn’t bloom together—like the poppies, roses, magnolias, African lilies, fritillaria, and lilies of the valley shown here.
Inspired by classic 17th-century botanical illustrations, sculptor Carmen Almon endeavors to represent every part of a plant, from its roots to its fruits. Working with copper, brass and enamel paint, she magically conjures all the delicacy and fragility found in her own country gardens by painstakingly cutting and forming each leaf and petal by hand.
“My flowers tend to be seasonal because I make what I can see in real life,” says Anandamayi Arnold, who faithfully rendered these passion fruits from paper. “They’re so graphic and far-out.” But Arnold isn’t entirely wed to reality: She tucks a few surprises—miniature playing cards, charming stickers, tiny games—inside each work, which can only be discovered by unraveling her exquisite creations.
Within a year of moving to the United States from India, Sourabh Gupta was commissioned to make 300 tiny daisies for Tory Burch’s dress at the 2019 Met Gala— quite a long journey from the artist’s small home- town, where art supplies were unheard of. “I started creating according to jugaad—using whatever you have to make whatever you want—because of scarcity there, and have continued it here because of excess,” says Gupta. Exhibit A: the graceful vase for this crepe-paper lotus was made from a reclaimed shot glass and bowl.
Crafted from porcelain and metal in 18th-century European fashion, architect-turned-artist Vladimir Kanevsky’s hyperrealistic botanicals have captured the imaginations of tastemakers from Jacqueline Onassis to Charlotte Moss. In this elegant ode to the blackberry, the Ukranian-born, New Jersey-based Kanevsky deftly combined flowers with fully ripened and unripened fruits. “I wanted to explore all stages of development in one piece,” he says.