Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto captures the beauty of the botanical in manmade structures that incorporate everything from ebullient blooms to petite pines, creating unique and imaginative expressions of plants in a myriad of art installations worldwide.

“I like to find expressions that even the flowers or plants themselves have not achieved, to stimulate people’s creativity and to continue pursuing new possibilities,” Azuma said. “I want to promote the value of their existence by highlighting flowers and plants in people’s minds.”


Azuma Makoto, Floral Artist

Azuma was born in Fukuoka, on Japan’s Kyushu Island. He moved to Tokyo to pursue a musical career, but then transitioned into floral art. “I wasn’t able to make a living with music alone, so I began a part-time job, which happened to be as a middle trader at a flower market,” he said. “I became obsessed with the expression and allure flowers display each moment and was slowly drawn into this field.”

As his interest in floral art evolved, Azuma founded the haute-couture flower shop Jardins des Fleurs in Tokyo. “As I was putting flowers together for customers, I became interested in making my own creations. If it wasn’t for Jardins des Fleurs, I might have not been making art works as I do now.”

Does that make Azuma an artist or florist first? “As a flower artist, my works emerge as a result of the relationship between the flowers, me, and my quest to discover their beauty,” he said. “As a florist, any of the three – customer, flower and self – should not stand out. Having a good balance among the three is important. Either way, being both florist and flower artist are the essence of who I am.

“I will continue to make pieces that may expand people’s imaginations around the world. Until recently, my works have been separate art pieces using flowers and plants. But now my creative projects are expanding to include installations within landscapes and public spaces.”

With more commissions lined up in his native country, as well as in France, the US, China, Mexico and Brazil, Azuma has a busy year planned in 2014. “I am working on both wall and landscape projects in Beijing and New York, with the architect Kengo Kuma,” he said. “In June, I have an exhibition at Espacio Escultorico in Mexico, where the theme will be ‘interaction with architecture.’” Alongside these projects, which he describes as “experimental,” Azuma is planning what he promises will be a “huge exhibition” of his flower creations.

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