Artist takes floral arrangements to a whole new level of art
By Kathy Feist
One might think Laif Bannon has a stiletto shoe fetish. Red heels, sequined heels, tiger print heels, all manner and color sitting around his home at Timber Trace, each filled with flowers.
Someday, he says, he would like to create heeled arrangements as a keepsake for brides, coordinating their bouquet with their wedding shoe.
But for the most part, his shoe and flower arrangements are experimental forms of 3D art using a unique medium.
Bannon combines artificial flowers with interesting elements he finds at thrift stores. Some designs make statements, some are pure kitsch, while others are simply traditional table centerpieces.
During the holidays, Bannon’s designs take on a distinctive theme. During Halloween, they were playfully scary (think black branches and black ostrich feathers). As Christmas approaches, the designs are more traditional with a touch of campy nostalgia, such as the use of ceramic Christmas trees popular in the 70s..
Bannon had become interested in floral art a year ago after a friend asked him to decorate a small boot.
“I decided then to take a sabbatical from painting,” says Bannon, who has around 175 paintings in his home.
All of Bannon’s art is a reflection of his own personality: bold, colorful, with a bit of whimsy. While some of his paintings are simplistic–the outline of a t-shirt with a period in the middle–most of his paintings are filled with intricately detailed patterns that take months to complete.
Bannon says his painting style is influenced by Georgia O’Keefe with an art deco/art nouveau style.
But he is also a great admirer of famed puzzlist M.C. Escher, whose detailed sketches incorporate optical illusion, such as the well known winding staircase that goes up or down depending on one’s point of view..
“People look at my paintings the first time and see one thing. They go back a second time and see something different,” he says. “I like to make the mind work.”
Bannon says art is all about fitting together pieces, much like a puzzle. His current 3D art form is no different.
“It’s all about arranging,” he says.
Bannon has sold some of his newfound art to surrounding neighbors and friends.
Bannon’s paintings have been displayed in Seattle and recently at Crown Center in Kansas City. He will soon add a new venue for his art: America’s Got Talent.
Bannon will audition for the talent show in February. The audition will include a slide show of his artwork while pianist Richard Kahn performs original music.