The Untamed Garden of Anna Condo's Photographic Practice
The Collector's Guide to Blockchain Photography
Using the subject matter of flowers as her center of gravity, photographer Anna Condo works broadly with aesthetic strategies that range from the classical to experimental techniques in the service of art history’s most beloved motifs. It’s difficult to find any artist who hasn’t explored floral motifs in some form in their careers, and in some respects the representation of flowers acts as a meeting ground for artists of all mediums and generations.
The traditions of floral representaiton in art provide a shared space among artists to visually discuss technique, style, philosophy, and personal expression. And within this arena, artists take on the challanges of finding new ground in populated creative territory. This idea is one that Condo acknowledged as a curator, recently bringing together over 100 artists using floral subject matter for a collection on the topic titled ‘Flower Gang’ on 1st Dibs.
With Condo’s wide-ranging representational strategies in both her artistitc work and curatorial tastes, the artist’s practice sows a visual garden that grows a cacaphony of classic and exotic results alike. Her expansive collections together form unique tensions between the classical and the uncanny, encompasing an interest in participating in the traditions of flowers as a visual conversationalist, equally versed in classical and progressive pictorial grammars alike.
We reached out to learn a little more about Condo’s practice, and an interview with the artist is below.
PhotoVerso: To start, can you talk a bit about your background as a photographer?
Anna Condo: I was raised around art and music. Both my grandfathers were into photography, one as a printer the other as photographer. I studied art and art history, but landed as an actor at 17. I started taking pictures on film sets first as an actor, then later as a director. Since 2013, I have been focusing on shooting flowers. They are peaceful and intriguing at the same time. They don’t require make-up or wardrobe. They are perfect as is. My perpetual fascination for color, composition, light, movement and even sound, is fueled by looking at a single stem.
PhotoVerso: What have been your biggest milestones so far in your career as an artist?
Anna Condo: Every step I have taken from acting, to directing, to photography, all have been life changing. And motherhood of course. I'm in my 50s now, looking back every second was a milestone. I suppose I am sort of an art chameleon :)
PhotoVerso: Can you talk about what brought you into the world of NFTs?
Anna Condo: March 2021, I was approached by a tech team to collaborate on a collection specifically for the blockchain and with inclusion of artist signature, titled Tulip 1637.
Best way to describe is the blurb from my website:
“Reminiscent of the Tulip Mania phenomenon that occurred during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th Century when prices for Tulip bulbs reached extraordinarily high levels, Tulip 1637 explores this relationship to the contemporary craze for crypto currencies and NFTs.”
Shooting these tulips, early spring 2021, knowing the support would be screens rather than paper was incredibly exhilarating and inspiring. As a filmmaker and photographer, I stare at screens all the time. Glass and light are my day to day.
Here’s a link to my website if you wish to read more about it.
PhotoVerso: What’s the scoop on your latest drop?
Anna Condo: On Wednesday, August 17th, I will be dropping one piece, titled “Ikebana,” on 1stDibs as part of their 1 YEAR SHOW. It is my third mint on their platform. I was first approached to curate an exhibit I titled Flower Gang.
Here are a couple links if you would like to read more about it:
PhotoVerso: What/who are some of the inspirations and influences that fuel your work?
Anna Condo: Too many painters to list, but definitely Caravaggio, Manet, Barnett Newman, Mondrian’s flowers. Photographers, I adore Outerbridge Jr. and love Man Ray, and early color photography is so delicious. Again, I could go on and on
Growing up, I watched classic Hollywood films, black and white + technicolor. Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast or Demy’s Donkey Skin are always on my mind. Fairytales are a world of color and emotions and have been a big inspiration. And finally, making art is my way of working at re-creating the beauty and magic I have felt listening to a great piece of music or watching a dancer or an actor perform. As I said, I could go on and on. In short: I am obsessed with art, in all mediums.
PhotoVerso: What do you hope audiences take away from spending time with your work?
Anna Condo: Hopefully they do feel some of the magic I feel when I’m making art. Mainly, I hope they experience the spiritual and philosophical power flowers quietly share with us all.
PhotoVerso: What are you working on now? And do you have new drops or projects on the horizon?
Anna Condo: I need a moment to reflect on a very big year. 2021 was quite busy and eventful. Plus, I don’t love making plans, so I am not sure, and I like it that way. I wish to go with the flow.
Anna Condo is a filmmaker and a photographer, born in Armenia and raised in France. Some view the flower as naive. Anna’s work proves the opposite. Her photographs are portraits, imposing respect. The flower is no longer fragile; she is strong. She symbolizes this nature that bends to the elements. A real break in the world in which we live. The flower is a lady first and foremost. A feminist before its time. A cornucopia of culture, stories, and emotions.