Mina Bolouri is an artist who paints with peonies. Or more often, due to their recent popularity, the floral and plant arrangements the florist agrees are nature’s 3-D equivalent of a human-made 2-D painting are filled with the boisterous, full-bloomed coloration of cultivated ranunculus, a type of buttercup encouraged by plant growers in recent years to become large and multi-petaled. Adding vigorous textural contrast are Jurassic-like protea blossoms that trace their origins back millions of years to South Africa and Australia. Contributing compositional contrast: roses, tulips, orchids, branches, leaves, twigs, ferns, vines and plants native to California. Most intriguingly, artistic gain comes from herbs and vegetables.
“I’ve used mushrooms, kale, chard, rosemary, mint, basil, pumpkins, apples, pomegranates, potatoes, onions, nuts, berries, figs. These textures I like to use because they are from nature,” Bolouri says in an interview. Bolouri owns and operates Arjan Flowers and Herbs, a small business located for more than ten years in an intimate corner space on Piedmont Avenue at Entrada Avenue. The “canvases” on which she paints exist as thin air—until her technical skills and training as a florist join with an unconventional imagination to fashion in vessels of all sizes and configurations the shop’s custom wedding bouquets, table settings, special event arrangements for private dinners, corporate gatherings, family reunions or funerals—and simple bouquets designed for sharing or for-yourself gifting.