The Flower of DeathVisualists explore the opioid crisis. A percentage of each sale is donated to: Partnership for drug-free kids
Little Red Petals
When I first considered the topic of the opiate crisis, I had an image in my mind of a man clutching his stomach. The slightly slumped over pose for the figure was influenced by Manet's beggar and by Goya's prisoner etchings. Similar to those works, my intention was to create a figure that would be sympathetic and almost asking for help. I wanted the painting to be monochromatic except for the poppy flowers in the foreground that were painted a bit more thick. The trees were inspired by Van Gogh''s Pollard birches and I have always thought they looked like dendrites in the brain.
Flower of Death
For as long as I could remember,I had an interest in botanical species and psychology. For this article, it came to me as an opportunity to dig deeper into the perspective of a relationship between a deadly plant and a vulnerable human being. And creating conversation in the opium crisis and why it all started in the first place.
There is an incredibly high amount of U.S Veterans that die due to drug overdoses each day in our country, and I wanted to make a piece that reflects on the use of drugs as a comfort to something as traumatizing as war and life after it.
Since the poppy is the death flower, I wanted to make a delicate drawing of a veteran sleeping in the poppies, with subtle hints hidden in the poppies that imply the flowers have no good intentions. My focus is on the idea that someone seeking comfort from the heaviest thoughts will always gravitate towards something that looks inviting, warm, and seemingly peaceful...but sometimes the gentlest of comforts can turn out to be worse than the thoughts we were running from. My intention is to make the viewer feel sympathy for the veteran, in his bed of eternal slumber, for the victims of drug abuse are often judged and forgotten, and it's tragic that some of our most ignored victims are people who fought for us to be alive- our heroes.
The Opioid Crisis
I've created a contemporary still life of the aforementioned flower. However, instead of the opium poppy being complete with the usual stem, leaves, and roots, we find this one violently acting as a metaphorical amputation point on a human hand. The hand floats lifelessly in neutral grey. Positioned in the foreground as a flat landscape, we see pills patterned in order, though that facade slowly falls apart as we make our way to the bottom of the composition. This choreography with the medicine reflects our society's reevaluation of our reliance on these substances.