Why I Like Flowers

By Tony Oursler
Published in
Jan. 1, 1995

Why I Like Flowers Tony Oursler One day out in a field I saw a flower break apart, some of its petals blew away on the warm wind. I was horrified, then sad to witness the violent destruction of the wonderful yellow bloom. The severed petals drifted and shuddered unnaturally upward as if through their own locomotion, higher and higher. To my delighted I saw that the petals were alive and realized that this was a butterfly and not part of a dying flower. In fact the delicate creature was helping bring life to the flowers by pollinating them! This shocking emotional experience so devastated me that I have been forced to confront its meaning, and the power which flowers seem to lord over me.

One of the best things about flowers is that people can arrange them as they like, in any combination: blue and red and yellow, or perhaps violet and yellow alone; some may prefer the strange coupling of red and white, or something radical such as a number of different flowers in the same color family. There are no limits to personal expression in floral arrangement.

It is a sad truth that to arrange flowers one must cut them at the root, thus rendering them prematurely terminal. I have often wondered if the flower is in pain as it stands in the vase. But they bring such good cheer to so many it's difficult to keep this thought in mind.

Death is not the first thing which comes to mind when contemplating the versatile flower, yet flowers are often the last gift given to someone who recently passed away. Flowers are sent to the home of the deceased, then they are taken to the funeral home and finally they are laid atop the freshly filled grave before during and after the funeral service. Resting upon the headstones the blooms symbolize the temporal fragile nature of life as well as the planting of memories, which when nurtured, will bloom within us all. But the elements are harsh in the open expanse of the grave yard and the flowers, although chemically doped for durability, never last. 'Fake' flowers such as silks or plastics can be used and this will greatly increase the life of the arrangement. Synthetics are eventually bleached white and become brittle, achieving a grotesque, ghostly effect.

After death, color is the first thing which springs to mind -- vibrant florescent mesmerizing tones. A spectrum so intense that science could never replicate. Petals fold open to the sun and seem to focus the intensity of light itself into color. I have always found it amazing that this also translates into happiness within the beholder! This is easily verified by an exploratory trip to a public garden. Simply keep a close watch on the visitors with special attention to the moments they concentrate on one particular flower. Watch the joy melt over them! Here is a hint of hidden flower power.

Often invisible, the flower uses ornamentation as domestic camouflage. Take the lonely bouquet in a vase on a table in the corner of the TV room. It was adorable when first set. But now with the passage of time no one sees it any more. NO ONE CAN REMEMBER WHY THEY WANTED THE FLOWERS (except that they are pretty). No one pays any attention. Seemingly dormant, they just take up space; somehow, magically, they become part of the room.

Cloaked in invisibility, they absorb life, exuding fragrance in return. The flower's true design is similar to a mirror, it monitors everything around it, all that is said and done-- even the thoughts and emotions behind each interaction. It is especially sensitive to the negative spectrum of human activity, embodying it, converting it, to fantastic perfumes. Just as their stems suck in water and minerals, the fleshy colorful trumpets suck up evil. This osmosis keeps them alive. Alas, over days and weeks they become toxic with the corruption of man. Eventually most arrangements are discarded by fair-weather admirers, their floral essences lost forever.

No matter how horrible the projected event, flowers are prepared to receive whatever is cast upon them and will happily reflect it at the proper time. With proper attention the secrets of the bouquet - all seen and unseen events, hushed conversations, hidden agendas - can be coaxed forth. Most people avoid flowers at night; without light, they lose their obvious power, become somehow irritating. Don't be fooled! HA HA HA. This is when you have far more power than the flower.

Turn out the lights let the colors drain out to black and white, gray, so color can not distract. Let your nose take over: breathe deeply, take the fragrance into you, let it's complicated notes break the chains of time. Look closely at them - LISTEN! LOOK! SMELL! - be still. What has happened in your home? Yesterday, twenty years ago? All these visions will be recounted, reflected for the patient observer. They will appear over the hours; with luck, the fluted shapes become vocal organs, softly babbling. The soft fleshy petals phosphor the darkness into glowing images.

If one holds a buttercup under one's chin a golden light will dance upon the skin. This is especially intense when done at noon in super-bright sunlight in an area of the world where the air is pure, in the north perhaps, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden or one of the poles or even higher in a mountain far away which is a problem because flowers become rare, the further north or higher you go. The rule of location for flowers is simple. If you could see the world in terms of flowers there would be none at either pole and increasing greatly towards the equator which is a virtual ring of floral activity.

Flowers are symmetrical and naturally strong in design. Floral elements have been incorporated into functional objects for as long as we can remember. The great mystical and symbolic portent once associated with strains such as the lily, dogwood, and poppy for example are now reduced to a decorative skin. Vaginas have traditionally been signified and idealized by flowers. Flowers have always been a good place to hide things. This practice is still evident today in the abundance of feminine clothing and under garments covered with flowers. The word "Pansy" was at one time a derogative term for effeminate men. What better way to celebrate our sexuality than to boldly wear something flowered?

Floral patterns emblazon everything. If one can not find the desired product factory-made, one can decorate it with any number of floral coverings, just as one might put an end to a tedious white wall by papering it with something lively. The abundance of soft objects found within bedrooms makes this site ideal for multiple floral uses. Beyond the usual flowered wallpaper, carpet, sheets, drapes, and chair covering, one could also use a potpourri inside the dresser to keep the clothes fresh! One may be driven to make a warm and colorful quilt for the bed or more importantly, to decorate the bedroom mirror using hand-painted stencil designs. While painting these designs upon the reflecting glass they scan be elaborated by adding intermediate tones and blending them into one another. For instance, in a flower petal, the light part can be almost white with two or more tones blending into the shadow, which can be deep. When painting a cast shadow, let it have a sharp edge rather than a soft one. A very dark touch on a shadowed stem or shadows of small area will point up the design, A dark rich tone of any color can be obtained by adding a bit of brown, dark blue and a touch of red. Experiment with this combination until sure it will give the dark tone you need.