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AGWA Blooms

September 28, 2023

AGWA Design Store is beyond excited to announce a creative collaboration with iconic floral artist, ACID.FLWRS.

Pioneer of the marbled orchid, AF creates unique painted flowers, surreal floral installations, fine art prints and more. The darling of avant-garde floral installations, AF founder Claire Mueller has successfully collaborated with Napoleon Perdis, the NGV, shoe brand Vans and recently been one of the few, selected artists to exhibit at David Jones’ Spring Flower Show 2023.

For the first time ever, AF is bringing her floral masterpieces to Western Australia and exclusively to AGWA Design Store. In this collaboration, ACID.FLWRS will create a limited edition range of orchids — inspired by the colours of WA and the iconic sunset over the ocean. The hyper-coloured, hand-painted blooms will be available for pre-order on the AGWA Design Store website from next week. We are also thrilled to say Claire will be in store, and in Perth, on October 13 to headline a curated event to launch spring summer at AGWA.

A home-grown Mt Lawley gal, Claire headlines a roll call of creatives on show. The event will feature the launch of an exclusive fashion capsule collection with Empire Rose and exciting collabs with Broochella and Angel City Nails. There will be an eclectic mix of music by WA Opera and wldflwr DJs and new interiors from Melbourne artist Kate Rohde and much more. This event is proudly supported by STM and tickets are available HERE. Keep an eye out in STM for more information in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we caught up with ACID.FLWRS and Claire Mueller to talk about this exciting collab.

Image - AFxVans. Photo: Jason Morey.

AGWA is delighted to welcome you to our Design Store. What can we expect from your floral creations?

CM: Flowers from your wildest dreams. Fresh cut flowers are transformed with hyper coloured patterns, bringing a fresh perspective to classical forms through a process based on a historical printmaking technique. Each AF stem is individually coloured with a bit of science and a bit of magic, becoming a piece of ephemeral art. ACID.FLWRS inspires viewers to challenge expectations and see the world through a different lens. At a time where our reality is evolving rapidly, AF encourages the ability to shift perspectives, react to the unexpected and envision a brighter future.

Why paint flowers?

CM: My style has always been a bit left of centre, so I’ve relied on my creativity to bridge the gap between imagination and reality. My earliest memory of being fascinated by flowers is at age five, sitting with my Granny — a visionary landscaper, bonsai enthusiast and sculptor — reading gardening books at dawn. Both my parents appreciated the botanical world and I think passed on an enthusiasm for the visual joy that flowers hold. And as joyful as natural flowers are, I’m really drawn to aesthetics that are a bit ‘off’ and make us think. Working with a fragile, expensive, perishable material is a logistical nightmare, so it wasn’t born from a considered plan, more from a desire to make something different. Weird flowers are interesting.

How did ACID.FLWRS begin?

CM: AF evolved from the compression of lockdown and always being energised by creative experimentation. I use flowers in my styling work a lot (I’m referred to as a 'professional flower destroyer' on set) and often customise them to suit the scene. The first AF happened organically — I was dating a graffiti artist and wanted to do something fun with painted flowers for a personal shoot. AF the brand is about futuristic optimism and the power in unexpected perspectives. I really believe in the power of creativity to spark a momentum of ideas.

Image - Claire Mueller. Photo: Chantelle Kemkemian.

Obviously, flowers have a limited shelf life — how does this benefit or restrict your work? I assume you need to work quickly.

CM: Working with a perishable material is a dynamic challenge. There’s a certain pressure in having to create within a timeframe, but in a way it’s also quite freeing because it doesn’t last forever. Every flower I paint is unique so it’s a bit sad when one is AMAZING and I know it’s ephemeral, but at the same time there is endless potential for more moments of wonder.

What inspires you?

CM: I find moments of wonder out in the world inspiring. The unintentional colour combinations in teardowns, bold industrial design on building sites, the moment the clouds are pink at sunset — often observed while running. I’m also really inspired by other people doing their own thing with enthusiasm, whether that’s food or design or tech. Regardless of whether it’s a full-time gig or a side hustle you can hear when someone is truly passionate about what they’re doing and that is the most inspiring thing of all.

Please tell us about your floral/artistic journey?

CM: I definitely think I was born creative, but the journey to this artistic endeavour hasn’t been linear. I grew up in WA and studied costuming at WAAPA, then moved over to Melbourne to study fashion at RMIT. Up until this point my path was purely creatively focused — I was obsessed with fashion and never wanted to do anything else — but in 2012 I moved back to WA unexpectedly to do palliative care for my father. At this point I was the least sporty person you’d ever met but woke up one day physically compelled to run. This, and the experience of doing end of life care, was transformative and really shifted my perspective. I ended up staying in Perth and studying physiotherapy for a few years, while also working as a visual merchandiser and product stylist before life threw me another change and I moved to London. Here, I threw myself into working with startups, became fascinated by tech and enjoyed the access to art and design. Since moving back to Australia I’ve found a balance as a brand strategist and creative director, working between AF and external projects for other brands. Working specifically with florals was never an active plan, but they’ve always popped up in my styling work, so it feels like a natural progression.

What did WA bring out in you/teach you?

CM: I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but growing up in WA was an incredible experience. The access to diverse natural beauty, the ease of pace and the feeling that you could just get on with your own thing had a lasting impact. I always knew that I needed to leave to see other things, but I have had the pleasure of living in WA in two different phases of life. What I’ve learned about WA creatives specifically is that we are good at doing lots of different things — which I think is a side effect of the industry not necessarily being able to support very niche roles. We have a real ‘get shit done’ attitude which is an invaluable quality.

What do you think about your collaboration with AGWA Design Store

CM: I’m beyond excited about this collaboration. AGWA was a huge influence on my creative development as it was a regular destination from a young age. I always loved going to the Design Store to peruse books and fabulous things after visiting exhibitions and can’t wait to see the renovated version in real life. I think it’s very cool that AGWA is showcasing so much local and national design through the store.

Pictured above are the limited edition ACID.FLWRS stems created exclusively for AGWA and available for pre-order from the AGWA Design Store website from next week!

Don’t miss this exclusive event – as AGWA blooms!