Vuela Loves: Flora & Form Studio
A true delight to interview with our latest "Wh" questions, Florida-based artist Danielle Romero shares a candid and personal story of her journey, personality and creative adventurous spirit. We've long admired her visual narratives and effortless transition between two and three-dimensional mediums to create beautiful paintings and (always a weakness for me) ceramics. From happenstance beginnings, inspirations, downtime amusements, quirks, and local travel to everything in between, we love getting to know the real lady behind Flora + Form Studio.
1) Who is Flora & Form Studio?
Flora & Form Studio began from an unexpected origin. In 2013 I was at an intense transition point in my life and was searching to reconnect with myself. I had an idea to combine my love for plants with my interest in art/design and create a side business whereby I’d consult and implement interior plantscapes; hence the name Flora and Form. Basically, I would help people choose the right type of plants for their indoor spaces. In typical me behavior, I jumped into creating an Instagram account for this side business even though it was still just a concept. Well, the idea fizzled rather quickly, but I decided to keep the Instagram account as a sort of journal/space to distract myself from the emotional transition I was going through.
In feeling the need for some kind of creative outlet, I had also begun experimenting with watercolor, and painting small works on paper. I have always enjoyed the arts but never took it seriously. The only background I had in painting was a few figure drawing classes in college. However, after some time of posting my little experiments, a follower asked to purchase one. Since I never intended to sell these pieces (I couldn’t have imagined anyone ever wanting to buy them), I just gave it to her. My boyfriend, somewhat as stunned as I was, then encouraged me to paint more and start selling. From there, Flora & Form organically transitioned into this home base of creativity for me, one in which to my biggest surprise, has grown into experiences and friends I am incredibly grateful for.
On your downtime, your hobbies, other interests:
So I actually still have a day job, which means that my art practice takes up the largest chunk of free time I have. If I’m not physically painting or at my local ceramics studio, I’m outside most likely literally just staring at the trees. Honestly, more intense than my interest in art, is my love for plants and nature in general. I spend a lot of my time just sitting or walking around my garden, which is where a lot of my ideas and inspiration come from as well. After six years of focusing on a creative practice, I’m recognizing this sort of meditation in the act of just being and observing is crucial for my ability to produce. I love to be alone, perhaps at times too much, is that a hobby? Hahaha.
I’m very much into making fires – not to be confused with setting things on fire... Although I grew up in a suburban neighborhood of Miami, my dad always made back yard fires as soon as temperatures dipped below “inferno” haha. He taught my brother and I how to make fires at a young age and I often made them by myself while I fantasied about one thing or another. To this day, it is one of my favorite activities, and I make them as often as the weather allows. Also, I’ve recently begun riding motorcycle. My boyfriend bought me a small enduro (trail + street legal bike) that I’m having a blast learning on. Other than that, I very much enjoy traveling a few times a year if I can, my cat, gardening, and cooking.
One thing I feel is hugely missing in my life is the ability to go on long hikes. I live on the outskirts of Miami, and though it is much more rural than central Miami, the only large area I know of to hike is in the Everglades National Park. While I have done that kind of hike, it isn’t very conducive for daily excursions, nor did I enjoy it enough to dedicate to all the work it requires - like dealing with the heat, insane swarms of mosquitoes and run ins with alligators. I often imagine being able to wake up and start my days hiking a few hours through mountains or forests; a dream I hope to have manifest at some point in my life.
Any secret talents, irks or quirks:
Oh probably more than I can list - irks and quirks that is, not so much talents haha. I have a few rules that I live by that may be thought of as more quirks than anything else. One in particular is that I avoid going to the movies, or almost any dark indoor place during the day unless I’m forced to by some sort of obligation. A museum/gallery or restaurant is okay but I prefer to reserve that, or anything that’ll have me indoors longer than about an hour, for gloomy, rainy days or night.
I have very vivid dreams, and what I watch highly affects them, so I cannot watch anything intense right before bed or I won’t sleep well. Somewhat related, I have a slight obsession with the sitcom Seinfeld.
I don’t like to listen to music in the morning; I prefer silence or to listen to people talking, like a podcast. Loud noises really bother me and can induce a bit of nervousness or anxiety. And not so uncommonly, I talk to my plants and tell them they are looking beautiful. I’m sure there’s much more, but that’s all that comes to mind at the moment.
2) What ….
-do you create?
Mainly paintings and ceramics, but I also really love photography and conceptualizing different types of projects.
-is your inspiration and creative process?
Well, for a few years now the subject of urban development and its effects on natural habitat loss has greatly informed my work and been one of my main points of inspiration. I’ve also always been fascinated by human psychology, however this has only recently seeped into my work in a deliberate way. More generally, earlier this year I discovered that being in awareness of the present moment and all the magic that lies in this space opens up a large amount of inspiration for me, so I’ve been practicing this as often as I can throughout my day (it’s really difficult sometimes!). I’m inspired by many subjects though, like architecture, fashion, film etc.; it fluctuates through my different phases. My creative process involves a lot of sitting, walking and starring in my garden. I then take that energy and attempt to translate some of it into my work in an organic, in the moment recording.
-do you collect for yourself or home?
I do not, yet. I would really love to, but financially not ready to purchase what I would like to have in my home. Aside from that, my studio is my home, and my home is a very small wooden cabin which means I need all the wall space I can get to store my own work.
-are your recent or upcoming projects?
This year I’ve become aware that I need to really slow down and concentrate on allowing my work the time it needs to mature into more meaningful and deeper pieces, so I’m not putting out nearly as much as I have in the past because it is all in development. I also take on projects and collaborations that come my way if I think I can be excited by them. One that I recently finished was a collaboration with FRAMA, a design house based in Copenhagen. The type of project was a first for me so I’m really anticipating its release. Aside from that, I am mainly working on two series of paintings that I go in and out of; one of which is inspired by and focuses on urban development and its impact on natural lands. The other, a series informed by my deep interest in consciousnss, human psychology and addiction.
-is your studio based?
Redland, Florida (about an hour southwest of downtown Miami).
Local travel tips:
My local area is quickly becoming more mainstream to central Miamians. I live in the agriculturally zoned area of Miami called Redland, so there are a lot of farm stands and U-Picks to go to. Robert is Here (the name of the farm stand), and Knauss Berry Farm are unfortunately very popular and quite crowded at times, but they are also two of the most iconic in the area.
And of course, Everglades National Park is fascinating in its own right as it has the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere and the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America – yep pulled those facts right off the website hahaha, but at least their accurate.
-would you like to travel next?
Too many to narrow down, but I am traveling to Corsica and Italy in the spring which I’ve never been to and I’ve very very excited about. If anyone has any recommendations please send them my way!
and how did you start your studio?
Oops answered this in question one haha…
-explore different mediums or work in a variety of disciplines?
I get bored pretty easily, so I love to experiment with different ideas and mediums. In doing so I feel it actually really helps with my main practice as well.
Ceramics: Parodi Ceramics
Shop Danielle's Happy Haus Robe Anouk Dress.