Let's talk scientifically for a second about how creepy plants are. Some of them smell like skunks, and other menacing species shoot poisonous sap in your eye when you approach them, causing temporary blindness. Also, the smell of freshly cut grass is actually a distress call, which, to me, is just a crazy fact to find out after this many years of being alive and having a front lawn.
Despite the horrific reality of plant life, florals and succulents are a full bloom trend springing up on the couture runways, allover streetwear snap backs, and in the perfectly curated homes and Instagram feeds of top bloggers. It's no surprise, then, that independent publishing house Zioxla has just put out a coffee table book entitled Strange Plants. The lush hardcover celebrates the role of plants in contemporary art and the personal lives of creatives, and features rotting, oozing and poisonous botanical renderings by 25 artists, some of whose work typically centers around the natural world, and others whose backgrounds are rooted in graffiti and tattoo culture.
“The artists in this book were challenged to think about their work in new ways and ruminate on their unique experiences with plants,” says editor Zio Baritaux, who was the managing editor of Shepard Fairey and Roger Gastman’s Swindle magazine, and has since written and/or edited more than a dozen books on art and culture, including The History of American Graffiti. “I hope this book will inspire others, and challenge the way people look at both plants and art.”
With contributions by industry icons including Erik Parker, Lee Kwang-Ho, Taylor McKimens, and David Axelbank, as well as distinguished tattoo artists FUZI UVTPK and Isaiah Toothtaker, among others, Strange Plants brings together two seemingly distant but visually rich universes: The Concrete Jungle and The Natural World.
Strange Plants retails for $30, and will be available at select retailers and bookshops, including Art Catalogues as LACMA. We give it a green thumbs up.