IN CONVERSATION WITH ARI, FLORAL ARTIST AND 'WOMAN OF RECORD'
To celebrate the launch of our Performance Towels in Floral, we sat down with floral artist and 'woman of record,' Ahrang An or Ari.
Ari is a floral artist currently moving between Seoul and Texas. Her work explores the relationship between nature and humans, often combining contrasting elements such as steel wires and delicate dandelions to convey emotion.
Inspired by the fragility of flowers, she creates beauty from impermanence while applying this mindset to her own daily life. In a conversation for Flowe Journal, we ask Ari about her growth as a florist, the creative process behind her art, and rituals that keep her grounded.
HI, ARI. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hello, I’m Ari and my Korean name is Ahrang An. People often ask me what I do. To define, I’m a woman of record. I like to record life. There are many ways to record in the world. Writing, drawing, taking photos, making something. Everyone’s records have been part of history. These days, I’m working on flowers. And I think that flower arranging, too, could be one of those records.
FROM CREATING STUNNING LANDSCAPE DESIGNS FOR SHOPS, TO PUTTING TOGETHER ENCHANTING WEDDING ARRANGEMENTS, YOUR WORK CENTERS AROUND FLOWERS AND ART. WHAT MADE YOU PURSUE THIS CRAFT?
Mother nature and human nature. The inspiration that comes from these are not only for me, they have great influence on all artists in the world. Also, nature is always filled with wonderful and beautiful records. I think what I do and my goal is not to miss out on the beautiful moments of nature, and I want to bring nature closer to our lives.
AS A FLORIST, YOUR WORK COMBINES DIFFERENT OBJECTS SUCH AS MOBILE SCULPTURES, CLAY, HAND FANS, AND OTHER UNIQUE ITEMS. WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WHEN SELECTING THESE MATERIALS? HOW DOES EACH FLORAL ARRANGEMENT CONVERGE TO TELL A STORY?
I am always thinking about the relationship between nature and humans. For example, the contrast between the two things, or the sameness between them. I always get inspiration from that moment and theme, and I can feel the emotion between them. When I work, I try to express that somehow.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE? AND WHERE DO YOU USUALLY SEEK INSPIRATION?
Many artists want to talk about the same things as me. I get inspired by their life and works. They form my mood, and I add moments of my life to it. After that, I start talking from my perspective.
LOOKING BACK AT WHEN YOU FIRST BEGAN IN FLORISTRY, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR GROWTH AND FINDING YOUR VOICE AS AN ARTIST?
I started flower works five and a half years ago. Of course, the start of work is always new, even now. But I really struggled at first. It’s like learning a new language, so I practiced a lot. I think it’s really important to look back on myself — who I am, what I like, what I hate, and to love and encourage myself along the way.
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY OBSTACLES IN YOUR JOURNEY AS A FLORIST? HOW DID THESE HELP SHAPE YOUR CRAFT?
Obstacles… are my skills! You know, the life of a flower is very short and fragile. I always work with that in mind. When working, quick judgment and decisions are important. I try not to get stressed out as much as possible. And I try to keep their beauty long enough after my work. The process called ‘conditioning’ is also really important, as it actually prolongs the flower’s life.
WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE. DO YOU HAVE CERTAIN RITUALS YOU FOLLOW? HOW DO THESE RITUALS INFLUENCE YOUR GROWTH?
I get up before six in the morning. Ray and I tend to pursue a relaxed morning. We have a simple breakfast with a cup of drip coffee. And then I pick up the leftover coffee and go out to the balcony to look at my plants. I have three dogs, who I walk with twice a day. During that time, I observe the sky, grass, birds and trees. They look different each day. I really enjoy observing them.
I love water too, which is why I enjoy taking showers. I feel at ease when I’m under the water. I wash my hair slowly, organizing the day in my head. Sometimes I reflect and pray for my family. My own time is intact.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST?
I like to create, record and share beautiful things. It’s not limited to flower works. In the future, I want to continue to do various works and accumulate records. Actually, my previous job was a fashion designer. When I’m ready, my dream is to run my own brand someday. I don’t know what I’m going to make yet!