One year ago today, in the thirty minutes before 6 a.m., when New York is still dark and chilly outside, my team and I went to work on creating our first Flower Flash. Since that day in Central Park, we have created nearly two dozen Flashes. We kidnapped a trash can on Bedford Street on the first day of summer. Threw it in the back of a truck, flashed it, and then plopped it at the foot of the Highline at dusk. A collaboration with Farrow & Ball led to our biggest Flash to date, a wild posting campaign on the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue during New York Fashion week. We even flew to L.A. (for a day) and concocted a series of tumbling trash bags filled with marigolds and dahlias on Santa Monica Boulevard. Working in the bright California sun and without the comforting din of New York City traffic was nerve-wracking but I love that LMD had the opportunity to bring a Flower Flash to a new city.
When Irini, my Director of Special Projects, asked me back in September of 2016, what needed to change in order for me to feel fulfilled professionally. I knew the answer lived somewhere in the idea of making a gesture of goodwill. We discussed whether contentment can lead to complacency. In my case, yes! Work is busy, my team is amazing, clients are happy. But something was missing. And then it clicked: How better to counter my professional norm of throwing extravagant parties for my fortunate clients than giving something similar to the everyday New Yorker. The Flower Flash was born.
And that I was reluctant to call these floral installations “Street Art” will come as no shock to those who know me well. Identifying as an artist has always made me break out in hives. But what initially began as a personal experiment to reinvigorate and reconnect me to my craft, turned into a beautiful shared experience in a city of millions. Any reservations I had about what to call what I was doing bubbled up and quickly deflated after watching New Yorkers joyfully interact with the Flower Flashes.
No matter how popular or elaborate these flashes become, our mission and our intent will never change. To bring beauty to New Yorkers and produce a positive, emotional response through flowers. In most cases, the Flower Flashes last only a few hours. Meeting one face to face mostly depends on luck and what kind of chronotype you are, but though they are physically fleeting, there is a lasting effect to the work. I don’t think I will ever be able to properly explain how rewarding it is for me and my team to watch as people engage with the trash can installations. If Art is a reflection of the world and the times we are living in, it is very clear to me and my “merry team of flower bandits” that people need Beauty and Joy in their lives. Truly, now more than ever. Watching people’s reactions to the Flower Flashes emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion and the need for LMDxNYC to carry on