EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Most people don’t think twice when they trample on a dandelion while walking through a park. When Tuckahoe artist Brian Arditi did just that, he thought twice, and literally unearthed a new medium.
Since stepping on a dandelion while walking to work six years ago, Arditi has entered a whole new world, turning flowers and other materials found in nature into art and memories at Flowers As Paint.
Arditi’s collection boasts homemade jewelry, paintings, tiles and windows displays that take flowers at every stage of their lives and transforms them into original pieces of art.
“I thought these flowers were too awesome to just be stepped on, the engineering of them, and the color, so I decided to pick some and dry them, like our grandmothers might do,” he said. “From there, the growth was organic.”
Since that fateful spring day, Arditi has been hard at work, tinkering with his craft in an effort to master it. While he’s perfected the pieces he offers in his Tuckahoe studio, he said that the learning process is an ongoing thing.
“I’m always figuring new things out,” he said. “I purposely didn’t widely introduce Flowers as Paint until I had a full enough grasp on how everything would turn out. I had to teach myself everything. Rudimentary flower drying tips were helpful, but I soon had to go far beyond that to further the style.”
Although his work started simply by using the power of the flower pigments to create colors not found in bottled paints, the artist has since branched out into the wide world of organic pigments. He has traveled around the country several times, collecting pigment from soil, rocks and other minerals.
Arditi said that his “trade secret” is the method he has discovered to stop the flower decaying process at different times to create unique colors.
“The pigments extracted from the flowers differ depending on their stages, therefore the choices for styles also change,” Cristina Gandolfo, who works with Arditi, said. “A prime blossom allows for more possibilities in terms of the creative process, but flowers that have been dried for years can also yield beautiful results.”
According to Arditi, his work is unique, and he is the only artist he’s aware of who uses this method to make art. While most of his clients are brides and wedding parties looking to preserve something from their special day, he noted that he has also worked to help brighten birthdays, anniversaries, proms and even funerals.
“This style literally allows people to take special flowers, which they’ve already invested emotion and memory, and turn that physical manifestation of their memory into a piece of artwork that becomes an heirloom,” he said. “More than turning flowers into art, I turn memories into art.”