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We met with Spencer Falls, a Venice local Botanical arts specialist and multi-media creative. Raised in New Zealand, the son of a fine artist and an orchardist, Spencer left home for California at age 17 for dreams of being an actor. In between gigs, he began itching for a creative outlet and on a whim, started selling hand-wrapped bouquets on Abbot Kinney out of his 1980 VW van, lovingly named Untho.
Today, The Unlikely Florist has moved from the streets of Abbot Kinney to a studio next door, and turned from a one-man show into a growing collective of artists inspired by the natural world, and the people living in it.
Spencer, let's start with a simple question... what does being unapologetically authentic mean to you?
Following your instincts and trusting your gut, and I guess if you mention outlaw perhaps you have to bend a few rules.
Your approach to presenting florals is known for pushing boundaries and inspiring curiosity. Could you share a recent project where you challenged the conventional norms of floral design?
This past winter in Aspen, I created a floral chandelier to adorn the New Year's Party at the St. Regis.
We'd love to hear more about your artistic side beyond floristry. Can you describe your process and inspiration when creating interior design pieces with wood?
I would say wood to me is just a natural material for me to manipulate. Branches and twigs are a lot like flower stems, once you understand how to work in harmony with them. The satisfaction of creating with them and finding the beauty in them is very intuitive. At this point, all of the pieces that I'm designing with wood I consider botanical elemental sculptures.
"Creative simplicity is the law of nature for man, as well as flowers" – your motto is intriguing. How do you incorporate this principle into your floral designs and art pieces?
It really just comes down to not overcomplicating each and every piece that I work on.
Many artists face challenges in staying true to their vision. How do you maintain your authenticity while also navigating the expectations of the art and floristry industries?
I think that having a fluid vision is important. When that is affected by opportunities that come and those that don't, not force anything and allow my identity to change naturally with the times.
We all have moments of doubt. How do you overcome self-doubt and maintain the confidence to express your authentic voice through your floral creations and art?
With great difficulty.
Blurring the lines between different art forms takes a unique vision. How did you come to discover and embrace this fusion of performance, floristry, and fine art in your work?
I believe that our authenticity as individuals is developed by our life experiences, so my ability and interest to blend these crafts is merely an accumulation of my life.
Experimentation often leads to breakthroughs in art. Can you recall a time when a daring experiment with floral materials or artistic techniques resulted in a surprising and delightful outcome?
It's happened multiple times in my career. None more notable than my experimentation with "flower walls" and getting the opportunity to create one as a backdrop for a Vogue cover featuring Kim Kardashian.
As an artist who uses unconventional materials, how do you strike a balance between preserving nature's essence and making a lasting artistic statement?
This too I do with great difficulty, but ultimately finding a space to design with dried flowers and organic wood gives me a chance to create pieces with a little more longevity than your normal flower arrangement.
Authenticity often evolves with time and experience. How do you see your unapologetic approach to art and floristry evolving in the future, and what aspirations do you have for continuing to push the boundaries of your craft?
I've been creating with the earth element aka flowers for the last seven years and at this point I'm very curious to explore manipulating the other three elements of water, wind, and fire.