The work of Taiwan-based botanical artist HaojheLiao caught me off guard on Instagram one day and I quickly became obsessed the more I scrolled. I set out to discover more about him, his amazing work, and his connection to nature. From New York to Taiwan- enjoy! #itsplantporn
IPP: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND & WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH PLANTS?
HJ: I started learning about plants and flower design when I was nine years old. When i was a child, I had my own small garden under the pear trees in my grandma’s farm. In 1999, a big (9.21 ) earthquake hit my home town in the middle of Taiwan. Because of that I have had a chance to approach the flower design skill.
I started a small business with flower design while I was in university. Now I am a flower designer and botanical artist.
IPP: WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK?
HJ: From the cities to the wild, I try to explore every possibility in the relationship between humans and plants. I observe and depict the interaction between plants and humans, as well as behavior and accustomed coping model.
From romantic flower style to abstract works, the materials include flowers, plants, and mixed materials. Plants exist in our life with different varieties and functions, but they are so important to all the people on the earth. The relationship between plants and life have become more and more popular over the world.
IPP: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
HJ: I have a residency program in Siu Siu Lab of Primitive Senses [ 少少原始感覺研究室 ] in the mountain of Taipei Taiwan. The projects in Siu Siu Lab will be more about the nature and land with a primitive feeling. We are preparing for the new space and project there.
IPP: DESCRIBE THE LANDSCAPE OF TAIWAN.
HJ: Taiwan is located in the sub-tropic area with plenty of rain, high temperature and moist climate on the island surrounded by hills and mountains. The differences in the climate is caused by the variation of the latitude and the elevation sea level. There have been four different environments of the tropic, sub-tropic, temperate and frigid zones suitable for the multiple growth of related plants in each zone respectively. Although Taiwan is a small island, we have great variety of plants in different landscapes. Floral Design has become more and more popular here for this reason and many young people are beginning to work as a floral designers.
IPP: PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR WORK.
HJ: There is always a garden in each person’s heart. And all the imaginations start from that garden under pear trees.
In our fast-paced life filled with materials and information, plants satisfy the desire for nature and beauty as well as meeting the basic needs of human. Now they have also gradually become a carrier of emotional exchange and conscious expression.
I try to organize and summarize the chemistry between humans and plants, instinctive, intuitive, collective experience, emotional, memorial, conscious, philosophical, hysterical... and I have also returned to the natural realm. From different perspectives, I observed and depicted the interaction between plants and humans, as well as behavior and accustomed coping model. Further to recombine and transcend into imagination, in designating plants, nature, and linked objects as messages and the medium for questions about individuals, life, society, or the environment.
The techniques and methods of “floral design” serve as a base for shaping, yet at the same time, I attempt to remove the concrete contours of floral design and aesthetics. The common memories, the imagination of beauty, and implied messages will naturally raise. Every soul and body are carrying both absolute logic and madness, when they are there, how could it not be beautiful.
IPP: WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT PLANT AND WHY?
HJ: Fern. They are found everywhere they can survive and grow on the walls, branches, the riverside… Their spores are very lightweight and so they can be blown extreme distances in the wind. It is just like my life experience and the way I create my works. I will go where I can stay and create something.
Also, Taiwan has among the highest density of ferns in the world and has been touted as the kingdom of Ferns .
Thank you HaoJhe!