The line between art and nature is pretty blurred for Michael and Taylor Putnam. The founders of the world’s most sought-after floral design agency, Putnam & Putnam, often draw on great artworks when coming up with their work, as they explain in their Phaidon book, Flower Color Theory.
“While we were creating the arrangements for this book, we frequently visited museums for inspiration,” they explain in the introduction. “We went to the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. We wanted to see how the artists we admired used color.
If you squint when you look at a work, the noise is canceled out a little bit and you’re able to see color as a block, as a field. In cases when we thought that we could do a really cool arrangement with a block of color, we’d take a photograph of the painting. Michael would do a quick visual sketch, and from there, we would come up with the color swatches that we would use when we went to the flower market.”
That book and its equally successful predecessor, Flower Color Guide, shows the myriad ways to combine and contrast flowers of different hues, all built around color schemes. It's an approach that's led them to work with the likes of Sofia Coppola and to style floral arrangements for, among others, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, Grace Coddington and Martha Stewart.
Now, in a new series of six photographic editions for Artspace, Taylor and Michael have turned the tables, making some pretty stunning imagery themselves. These photographs bring to mind the floral imagery of Fischli and Weiss, the dreamy videos of Pipilotti Rist, or maybe, even, if you squint, the blurry canvases of Helen Frankenthaler.
The exclusive Flower Color Theory editions are available as a full suite of six or individually with elegant custom framing here. Each print comes with a custom Artist signed label. All edition photography by Daniel Terna.
Taylor and Michael Putnam