Makoto Azuma is a Japanese flower artist, botanical sculptor, and co-founder of Jardins des Fleurs. How he discovered his passion for flowers was a coincidence, but his success is no coincidence. What brings him a great success is his persistence on pushing the boundaries of his art. From space to deep sea, he exhibited his art in various places to explore the potential of plants and creates highly satisfying aesthetic scenes. His passion for nature is an inseparable part of him, how he devotes himself to demonstrate the inner beauty of plants without limits turn out as a challenge to improve his art to be better, more creative and unique.
Botanical sculpture isn’t a term we hear everyday, how was your first introduction to your profession?
While I run a flower shop, I am also a flower artist to do my creative work. My constant strong belief to enhance the value of flowers keeps me continuing my creative activities. A general idea of Botanical sculpture is simply something that is produced through my creative work, but it is actually the process of creating a work of art which is made of plants and flowers that have precious lives with short life cycle, and it turns into something like a sculpture by being arranged by a human being. When I deal with flowers and plants, I am fully aware that I am constantly touching holy, precious and beautiful living things from the nature, so I can not complete my work with half-hearted attitude. The way how I make my art work is touching flowers 365 days a year and being determined that I always deal with something very sacred and face to their lives.
You moved your art into an extraterrestrial dimension, what was your inspiration for Exobiotanica?
I get all my inspirations from flowers and plants themselves.
When I went to the Amazonian forests in Brazil before, I was shocked by the scenery that the forest was fully covered by strong and fierce plants which looked like as if those plants were ferocious enough to attack me. Even when I finally found a beautiful flower, insects were warming around it and roots crawling on the ground under my feet were spread out right and left, so the tackles road with lush plants felt like a battlefield. With each step, I had actual sensation that I stood firmly on the ground, and that sensation brought me an idea of what if I arrange flowers on this “earth”.
That is how the conception of my art piece,“Exobiotanica”, was born which comes from the idea of likening the universe to a vessel and arranging flowers on the earth.
Despite to their beauty, flowers are pretty fragile yet they seem quite intense at your hands. How do you cope with the fragility of flowers?
I think that flower art means capturing flowers’ momentary beauty. The life cycle of flowers is far shorter than human beings so their lives are very fleeting. Therefore, every moment during their lives is more condensed from when they sprout, bloom and decay, and it make their beauty stand out even more. I capture that explosive moment and turn it into my art work, so I think its power sticks into people’s heart.
Flowers find themselves in extraordinary places such as ice blocks, deep sea or even space through your experimental creations, which creation was the hardest one to accomplish?
For every creation, if I was able to accomplish my creation easily, it doesn’t have any value. In order for me to capture expression of flowers which nobody has ever seen, I can’t do the same approach which someone have done before. For the project like In Bloom series, which I arrange flowers at places where there is no possibilities for flowers to exist, or the art work which can be permanently exhibited by combining various artificial and different materials, people see the results of all the process from its conception to completion by us having timeless discussion and experimentation. Also, since I deal with a living creature with a limited life cycle, I keep working on creating something at my atelier that is always filled with a tense atmosphere with nervousness.
As an artist who creates his own limits with new experiments, what would you advice to young artists who hesitate to innovate?
They should never be satisfied with the current situation. They should doubt, destroy, and struggle from there to hit upon ideas, give form to their ideas, and I would like them to see scenery which nobody has ever seen.