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November 23, 2020

Art and Flowers

By Sienna Gonzalez

I’ve always been passionate about two things: art and flowers. When what we assumed would be a simple two week break from normality slowly turned into a month, then two, then more, I realized I had the one thing I had been lacking since I started college: time. Moving back home with my family and watching everything close around me left me with so much free time to take advantage of. I could finally pursue all the hobbies I’ve had since I was a kid that had been thrown onto the back burner when school started to become more demanding.

It started with painting. I’d sit in my kitchen and draw little doodles in my sketchbook or make small gouache paintings that made me smile and took my mind off all the chaos. Whenever moments of boredom would strike, I’d think to myself “what have I done in the past when I had nothing else to do?” And that’s when I remembered another passion of mine: video editing. I decided to combine my love of painting and my love of making videos into one, filming time lapses of my process or shots I thought were interesting. While my paint dried, I would edit all the footage, throw on some chill lofi in the background, and post them on TikTok without thinking much of it.

By the luck of the TikTok algorithm, one of my painting videos went viral. I started gaining followers by the thousands every day and positive feedback poured into my comments. The timing couldn’t have been better; around the same time I opened up an Etsy shop to start selling some digital drawings and prints I was making for fun. Suddenly I had a platform of thousands of followers who all seemed to love my work, something I had never experienced before, and I was frantically packing and mailing off my little drawings made in my childhood home across the country every week.

Only one thing was missing now, and that was the flowers. Normally my summers are spent working with a local florist, creating bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and whatever else brides desire from the most beautiful flowers imaginable. Unfortunately due to COVID, that job was no longer necessary. I decided I could get my flower fix elsewhere, so I started a new project that would combine art and flowers.

A piece of history I’ve always harbored a secret obsession with is the Victorian language of flowers. This was a way for people in Victorian England to bypass strict social standards to communicate messages, and it was all done through floral arrangements. I wanted to make my way through my copy of the language of flowers dictionary, illustrating flowers with definitions that resonated with me at the time. Chamomile: energy in adversity. Phlox: our souls are united. Red carnations: my heart breaks. Creating these illustrations and turning them into cards and stickers to sell in my shop has been an amazing outlet for every feeling I’ve experienced throughout quarantine, and I’m excited to be able to share this niche piece of history with my friends and followers. I feel as though I found my silver lining in an otherwise grim time.