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Projects > Flower Interruption > Drawings
San Francisco | Yogyakarta | Ubud | Tokyo




San Francisco Flower Interruption
study (2003), blue pencil, paper









San Francisco Flower Interruption
study (2003), blue pencil, paper








San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), gouache, paper








San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), gouache, paper








San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), gouache, paper


San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), blue pencil, paper

In 2002/03 I launched Flower Interruption, a four-part series that developed as a playful response to the monotony of the everyday and business-as-usual routine. Flower Interruption was a strategy for breaking up the expected. It was also a rejection of corporate values and the surface aesthetics of capitalism. Working in opposition to corporate advertising, the interruptions offered a respite in the landscape from the onslaught of profit-driven messages, which have become the backdrop for defining global culture and lining the pockets of an elite few.

Beginning in the summer of 2002, I began hand-painting brightly-colored paper cutout flowers. I used acrylic paint on heavy printmaking paper that I glazed with a glossy "environmentally-friendly" polyurethane-type coating. In total I made 800 flowers that ranged in size from 5" x 5" to 5' x 5.'

The flowers were installed in four locations: Tokyo Japan, Ubud, Bali (Indonesia), Yogyakarta, Java (Indonesia), and San Francisco. The slick technicolor flowers were a striking contrast to the grit and gray of the city and a surreal addition to the tropical jungle of Bali. They appeared as though they had been air dropped in by a cartoon plane.

The sites and the development of the project influenced one another throughout the process. I had never been to Japan and the opportunity arose when I decided to return for a second time to Indonesia (I had traveled to Ubud, Bali and Yogyakarta, Java in 2001); the layover was booked for Tokyo. Japanese art and culture have fascinated me and had an influence on my work for a long time, including my study of woodblock printing. Ubud is a popular tourist destination. It's also a world of contradictions and complexity - a lush tropical terrain with a Hindu culture that has a long tradition of music, performing arts and craftwork; and a booming consumer market through which the music, arts, and rituals that were once held sacred have become products and services created and performed for profit. Yogyakarta is my favorite city in Indonesia, though my first impression of Yogya was that it was an armpit - very polluted (the entire city has a brown/gray tinge to it), very overpopulated, and very poor. The US corporate presence is really only directly visible through the billboards that you see in Yogya for cigarette ads (as well as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Coke) and they're everywhere. San Francisco has been my home since 1994. My primary mode of transportation is walking. I walk 2-3 miles a day on average and I've become very familiar with the various routes from Nob Hill (where I live) to the South of Market (where I work with a number of non-profits) to the Mission District (where I have a studio and spend a good deal of time).


San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), gouache, paper


Because of time constraints, I spent the month before I left for Indonesia (and Tokyo) in 2002 painting the flowers I would take. I also had to take space and weight into account and since I needed to travel light, I was only able to carry a small portfolio with me. Therefore the flowers that I took were no larger than 14" x 18" and there were about 300 of these. I was able to paint larger flowers while I was in Yogyakarta since I was spending more time there and I was able to paint at my friends Samuel Indratma and Ade Tanesia's home. I also had to be careful with rationing the flowers out in Tokyo and Ubud so that I would still have a critical mass in Yogyakarta. The interruption in San Francisco was the largest and most planned out of the four. The flowers had a much greater range of size (up to 5 feet across) and there were 500 for one site. The SF project also became much more involved with the planning and creating phase, which took over eight months.


San Francisco Flower Interruption study (2003), pen, vellum


While the general format and process for the Interruptions were the same, each event was quite distinct with new narratives created by the culture and environment it was presented in and the people who happened to stumble upon it. In addition the overall project (planning, creating, and presenting) had many different components and incarnations to it - from my own fantastical imaginary world in which I envisioned these flowers as playful superpower creatures taking on the world of the mundane to the unpredictable, yet playful and benign covert actions, to the actions themselves and the afterlife that grew from them. I chose to install the work on the ground (with the exception of the monkey forest outside of Ubud) in the roadbed so that the flowers became impossible to avoid and provided an unexpected and unfamiliar interface to negotiate the urban terrain. The flowers were stuck to the ground with heavy, double-sided foam tape. In all of the Interruptions (except Tokyo) outfits were worn during the performance/installations. In Ubud and Yogyakarta, I wore a very loud, sixties-style pant suit with platform sandals, a flowing hairpiece and large sunglasses. In San Francisco the Interruption crew wore orange traffic vests (also worn by SF Department of Public Works street crews).