This Collage Artist Makes New Bouquets From Old Books

Genetic modification can get a bad rap in the environmental sector, but North American artist Jenny Brown‘s collage pieces take their aesthetic cues precisely from this mix-and-match approach to natural flora. This intriguing set of images create new compound flower arrangements from found materials like antique books and vintage postcards, decorated with Jenny’s own drawing, creating variations that fall somewhere between floral still lifes and cameo brooches cast in pinks, blacks and blues.


Favouring drawing and collage, it’s antique materials and paper ephemera that hold a particular charm for this Rhode-Island based artist: “there are so many stories hidden within their pages – their life and history before they came into my possession.” The collaged elements are, for Jenny, the “hearts and lungs” of her creations, and her drawing steps in to “ adorn these bodies with arms, tentacles, and hair in pen and ink.”


Whilst the collages themselves may only take a couple of hours, collage materials may have been cut out and kept on Jenny’s desk for years on end, waiting to be paired with their perfect match. We get in touch with the matchmaker herself for a chat.

The Plus: Your style has remained consistent over the past five years or so – what about these floral arrangements chimes with you as an artist?
Jenny Brown:
I love flowers because they are so commonplace, yet such a mystery, so difficult to really “know.” I think they are excellent representations of the human emotional landscape, and the still lives or portraits of these creatures that I create give the viewer the chance to get to know them intimately.


TP: Your palettes tend towards pinks, blacks, and blues – why is this?
Pink is such a misunderstood colour. It really is the colour of life: lungs and organs, and not just candy, toys, and stereotypically “female” things. Blacks and blues represent the lifeblood of the ocean and the night sky to me!

TP: As an artist inspired by nature, are there any natural places that are of particular importance to you?
I am a city girl through and through, so I approach nature with a lot of fear and caution. But I am currently obsessed with a stretch of rocky beach by my home in Rhode Island that is always littered with the most stunning and unique shells, rocks, and seaweed clusters.


TP: If you weren’t an artist, how do you think you would have ended up channeling your creative energy?
I like to think I would be a pastry chef, because I have a love for sweets and fascination with baking, but I fear I wouldn’t be patient enough!

TP: You work ends up making new, compound organic forms from flowers, shells, etc. How would your favourite flower look? (and smell…)
My favourite flower would probably be the one that seems rather simple at first glance, and then on closer inspection reveals smells and intricate details that were initially hidden. Creating my own compounds that I “understand” makes me feel closer to nature in my own way.