Founded in 2013 by New York-based artist Brittany Asch, BRRCH is a unique and unfettered floral project built on an appreciation of the natural world. Asch creates mesmerising floral formations that celebrate plant life with a sense of fantasy and surrealism. Over the years, she has collaborated with and consulted for numerous eminent artists and brands, spanning Bjork and Rihanna, photographer Petra Collins, Gucci, Vogue, and many more. BRRCH has produced floral works for film sets, books, fashion shows and art installations, as well as a rather special arrangement of marigolds for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. To learn more about BRRCH, the thinking behind Asch’s inimitable approach to colour, and how she’s handling the pandemic, Something Curated spoke with the artist.
Something Curated: Can you tell us a little about your background and how you entered this field?
Brittany Asch: I studied music in college. Prior to that I was studying acting, and prior to that, dance. My first dream was to be a ballerina and half my life was spent in auditions and on stage. My father passed away when I was 22, which was a catalyst for my redirection. I was led to flowers like Alice chasing the white rabbit through a labyrinth. I thought they possessed great power for healing, which is what I needed most at the time. I’ve now come to realise that anything you love holds that power but I am happy it was flowers that nursed me.
SC: What inspired you to start BRRCH, and where does the name come from?
BA: BRRCH is derivative of my full name. Initials of sorts that when spoken aloud become a tree that was poignant in my childhood. The name came to me like a food craving and I didn’t question it. It appealed to me that it felt more like a symbol than a word, a place I could both find refuge and freedom in. It was fitting to that time in my development and continues to be so because the ambiguity has not pinned or limited me just yet and it can morph and evolve as I do.
SC: At present, are there any particular plants or materials that you are especially enjoying using?
BA: I am currently enjoying small flowers and stems picked from walks with my dog. Making tiny altars around my home.
SC: You work with a very striking palette – how do you approach using colour?
BA: I like for the flowers to embody a harmony with the space they take as a home. I act first as a web, catching everything, and then I survey what I feel is necessary to carry out the arrangements. I enjoy the heavy use of colour because I find it arousing and alluring, with the potential and capacity to evoke responses that might resemble entering extreme temperatures, activating our circulation and blood flow. I try to recreate the sacred and quiet moments of awe that I find in nature and transpose them into my work. Interlacing and calming the nuances of sometimes chaotic combinations is where I find the most enjoyment, it gives me opportunities to create details which are true pleasures. Every stem needs a companion to make the piece whole.
SC: What are you working on currently, and how is the pandemic affecting the way you’re working?
BA: I’ve started a virtual bouquet series because I find it meditative and it allows me to work the same muscles mentally that I would entering someone else’s space. People send me photos of their homes and I dress them as I feel.
SC: What do you want to learn more about?
BA: Art history, garments, and film. I hope to learn more about film especially; it is another rabbit haunting me, making attempts to lure me for a few years now. I love a good character study.
Interview by Keshav Anand / Feature image via @brrch_floral