Each month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated in our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations.
This month, we are featuring florist Sophie Sikora, owner of Arts District Florals. Sophie designs the floral arrangements for Cartier Beverly Hills. She has created stunning arrangements for Garden Tour and was highly recommended to VRG by Patron member Worthy McCartney.
We asked Sophie these five questions:
1. How did you decide to become a floral designer?
I think it’s safe to say that I decided to become a floral designer when I was eight years old and I first read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Specifically, the chapter where Alice steps into an enchanted Garden where all the flowers can talk, had my imagination running wild, and from that day forward, I dreamt of creating my own colorful wonderland in the form of a floral paradise. My desire to create another world led me to the entertainment industry where for nearly a decade, I worked as a creative producer in film, while still creating with flowers in every spare moment that I had. However, as the industry changed, so did my passion for the work, and five years ago, I decided to finally take the leap of faith and start the business that I always said I would open when I retired. Thus blossomed Arts District Florals, and I’ve been fortunate enough to call my creative passion a career ever since.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from looking at the world through the Prism of Color. Given the choice, I will always gravitate towards something that is, from a color palette standpoint, visually interesting and bold. Most of my work tends to be very colorful and effervescent; I love mixing unexpected hues that unconventionally pair well together. To me, there is nothing more beautiful and joyful than a cornucopia of color. Whether that is represented in a floral arrangement, textiles, interior design, or a painting, my eyes tend to light up when I see vivid and brilliant hues. I also draw a lot of inspiration from works of art, specifically that of the Impressionists. Artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Signac (among others), have such a masterful command over their palettes, and I marvel at the magnificent way they see the world, and their unique ability to express that vision in such a clear way. In that sense, I hope that my work expresses the way I perceive the world and shares the way I wish it could be.
3. Can you share some photos of your favorite floral arrangement(s) and/or projects you have worked on?
4. What is the book that inspires you the most?
While I compulsively collect and read books on art, fashion, colorful interior design (especially Tricia Guild - she is a genius!), and flowers (I ran out of shelf space a long time ago), the book that has influenced me the most is probably Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Wonderland, is quite literally, a more colorful, fantastical, and enchanting version of the world, and that is what I strive to achieve with my work. I believe that flowers have the potential to help us retain some of the childlike wonder that guides Alice on her journey - that wonderful sense, that as we get older, gets further and further away from us. If our designs can provide just a little bit of magic or leave you feeling as though you’ve been transported to another world, then we've succeeded in doing our job.
5. Choose a work of art and then design a floral arrangement inspired by it.
One of my favorite works of art is The Swing (c. 1767) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a painter of the Rococo era. The woman on the swing symbolizes the French aristocracy living their extravagant and carefree lives, in blissful ignorance of the impending revolution, as expressed in the looming dark forest behind the happy maiden that swings so carefree. The loss of her slipper signifies a loss of innocence, and a loss of that world and time which will never be again. I was inspired by this particular work of art while creatively flowing with some leftovers and feel that the greenery in this arrangement emulates and captures the movement of the swing and the sway of the female’s body up to the tip of her toes to the lost slipper, as she reaches the apex of the pendulum. And while the forest may still be looming, there is an element of joie de vivre.