Garden Inspired issue #53 of UPPERCASE Magazine

Ever since reading The Secret Garden as a child, I have been fascinated by the idea of cultivating my own secret garden where I can escape and dream while being surrounded by the magic of blooming trees, budding flowers, and birdsong. These days, I transform vintage garden maps and science illustrations through collage and illustration, so that my artworks create secret gardens of their own. My landscapes and botanical portraits help me to reconnect with the essential yet mystical wonders of the natural world. The imaginary gardens that I create in my collage illustrations explore visions of exotic plants, exquisite flowers, and dream-like birds that exist only in my mind. The secret garden becomes a surreal place to lose myself and transform the natural world into a reflection of my own desires. 

Art & Science issue #50 of UPPERCASE Magazine


Everyday we engage with patterns and images of the natural world. However, this natural symmetry and beauty is often taken for granted due to either its macroscopic universality or its microscopic invisibility to the human eye. 

My recent collage illustrations aim to interrupt this tendency by transforming images from vintage scientific illustrations, charts, and diagrams into surreal dreamscapes. The research, selection, and manipulation of data that goes into each artwork mirrors that of the scientist as they observe, categorize, and document processes of transformation and change. 

Working with imagery from botany and biology resources in the public domain, my art strives to enact the process of defamiliarization, a literary term that means to “make the familiar unfamiliar in order to see it in a new way.” Protozoa resemble mid-century vases, microbes and insect wings emerge as flowers, shells and echinoderms transform into fabulous hats, and dreamy fungi and waterfall landscapes reimagine scientific observations into worlds that are both familiar and new. 

A common foundation of collage, pattern design, and science is the promise of discovery inherent in new combinations of the smallest of things. By piecing together seemingly random bits, an artistic composition or a scientific study can reveal new meaning, inspire possibility, or dramatically impact our relationship with the natural world.