At The Shops at Park Lane, next to Old Navy and adjacent to Champs and Starbucks, a vibrant array of flowers bursts into view. It is Claire Fagin’s “Floraison,” an Instagram-worthy celebration of spring’s holidays, Easter and Mother’s Day.
“Those are the two biggest holidays celebrating growth and new life and that transition from bare winter to lush summer and that’s really inspiring to me as just someone who loves the transitions of seasons but who is also close to my mother and understands mothers are the givers of life and spring is the giver of life,” Fagin said. “So, to me, that translated into lots of bright colors and a really lush installation.”
Organized and commissioned by The Shops at Park Lane, Artist Uprising and Belmont Creative, the floral installation represents Fagin’s career transformation. Growing up in Dallas, Fagin was homeschooled and had lots of time to experiment with artistic mediums.
“I knew I was an artist, but I didn’t know how to express that,” Fagin said.
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She went to Pepperdine University, studying art and film, and now based in Los Angeles, she began a career in photography. A job photographing a florist’s work and the pandemic changed the trajectory of her career.
“Wait a second, I think I really like flowers and I really like shooting flowers and then shortly after that, COVID hit and I wasn’t able to go out and photograph people,” Fagin said.
During the earliest days of the pandemic, Fagin went to the flower market in downtown Los Angeles, picked out a variety of florals, worked with them in her driveway, and photographed the results.
“I felt it was really intuitive for me to work with flowers,” Fagin said. “With flowers, it felt really natural, and it felt like the one thing artistically that I had not had to fight to own as my own. It was something that came to me and easily.”
Fagin has become an artist-to-the-stars, creating artful florals for Olivia Rodrigo, Kate Hudson, Tame Impala, Ke$ha, and more. She creates large-scale, site-specific floral installations and she has designed for brands such as Puma, Revolve Beauty, Dahlia Tequila, and the Jimmy Fallon Show.
Depending on the requirements of the project, Fagin selects fresh florals or preserved florals. She also paints florals to preserve them and change its appearance to suit her needs.
“I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of color. I’ll buy baby’s breath. It’s white with green stems and I will paint it bright pink, fuchsia, whatever color is not white,” Fagin said.
If she is working on a film or television shoot where her floral creations will only be needed a few hours or a couple of days, she will use fresh flowers. She is careful to keep the florals shaded and properly tended and watered.
“I do feel like I chose a medium that is very short-lived compared to a photograph that is literally meant to last forever," Fagin said. "Flowers are meant to last a couple of days, but I think it requires me to slow down and do things right. The flowers do have opinions about how they are treated.”
For installations that are on display for several weeks, she uses preserved florals with other materials. Fagin created “Floraison” with a combination of preserved flowers, faux flowers, dried flowers, and paint. She painted palms blue, green, pink and orange.
She purchased all the required florals in Los Angeles, loaded them in her car and drove them for 21 hours to Dallas.
“The selection here [in Los Angeles] is probably 50 times bigger than in Dallas,” Fagin said.
She stayed with her mother, laying out the florals in the living room.
“For a couple of days, her living room was just the flower market,” Fagin said.
Fagin recruited her mother, her best friend, and her best friend’s fiancé to paint palms and assemble the mechanics of the display. Under 500 florals is a complicated structure of wood, chicken wire, screws, zip ties and staples. In total, “Floraison” required 150 hours to create.
“It’s so awesome to be able to share my art with my family and friends in Texas in-person because normally they are seeing photos of my work so that’s the best part to me," Fagin said. "All these people who fostered that creativity all those years and encouraged it are getting to see it in one of my biggest projects to date."
Fagin and her team assembled “Floraison” in one day. Initially, the installation was to be outside. When Fagin came to The Shops at Park Lane in February to look at the proposed site, it was bitterly cold. Fagin and her collaborators decided to shelter from the weather to discuss the concept.
“It was actually just by chance that we stepped into that little room to sidestep the cold and that’s when the idea came to us that that would be the perfect spot for it," Fagin said. "It’s like this little cave of wonders."
Safe from the unpredictable elements of Texas spring weather, the floral oasis has a selfie station for visitors to take perfect spring portraits with friends, or better yet, Mom.
“I hope that people are surprised," Fagin said. "I hope the colors brighten their days. I hope that that idea of spring and new life is inspiring to people."
Learn more: https://shopsatparklane.com/