I want to gush and tell you how amazing Bianca D’Amico is, but I mainly want you to hear from her so you can see it for yourself. I found Bianca’s blog, Terri Planty a while ago and I was mesmerized by her custom terrariums. Each depicts a captivating miniature scene, a minimal mini garden or a full on designed setting in unique planters. Every work of Bianca’s is different, but all of them carry her unmistakable style. It’s clear when you browse through her works as Terri Planty that Bianca is an artist first and foremost. Bianca was kind enough to send me a lot of information about her background and journey as an artist, which I geeked out about on a personal level, since now I think she’s not only a bitchin’ artist, but an awesomely strong chick worth geeking out over. For now, here’s Bianca and a tour of her studio.
i studied painting / new genres at otis college of art and design where i received my bfa and then headed over to calarts (california institute of the arts) for grad school. i loved calarts! it was wild and lively and i had two studios there that were so precious to me. space!
at calarts i really expanded my art process, making larger installations involving video projections, performance, painting, sculpture all centered around topics of feminism, humor and play. after i graduated i continued to work with this subject in all mediums. for me it is very important to go big, loud and explore a wide variety of tools to communicate my concepts. especially because i create environments, you have to constantly find new ways of inviting viewers into your space and seducing them to get involved with your materials.
when i finished school i moved in with my still roomie partner boyfriend bff – erick. he is a comedy writer. we gave birth to two cats – looey and nimbi. they are often stars on my blogs. they are my children. i am so in love with them. our home is rad. we have incredible views as we are on a hill. lots of steps up, but worth the work out. (no fun when you drink, and bars are just down the street!)
but point being, i am talking about my home because it changed my life.
my home has a big garden. in the front and back. when we got here it was dirt. some random shrubs, lots of weeds. to me it spoke possibility. i refused to move into an apartment because i thought, shit if i am going to continue living in LA i must have some land! so this place rocked my world.
i began gardening with no clue of what i was doing and my knowledgeable, green thumbed and creative mother warned me to not throw all my money into this rented space. she was right. my first lesson was to educate myself and plant things that would thrive in our landscape and help me save money while still getting the chance to learn and play in the soil. i took a class at ucla and since then have seriously been desiring going back to school for horticulture. the class was mind blowing. it was all about native california flora. it made me realize how important it is to know what you are planting and what effects it has on your environment. it also made me realize, i want to commit my life to working with plants in some form.
i missed making art. art is my first love after all.
i did a solo show at a local gallery and incorporated lots of plants into the installation to bridge my recent obsession with plants. plants were everywhere in my home. in my art, i was trying to figure out new ways of displaying them. i had made plant hangers from fruit baskets, i made pants for my plants out of shiny glittery spandex, i had a major collection of plants rooted in water in odd bottles littering every windowsill, i sold succulent clippings in rusted cans for an art charity. and then somehow i got the impulse to make my first terrarium.
one cool thing about making terrariums are all the new tools i get to work with. GIANT tweezers, a magnifier visor, tiny files, tiny brushes and so on. i now know way too much about glue!
i run a website for a really cool boutique in los angeles called pergolina. the owner, paulanna (a dear friend and inspiration) was digging my terrarium and offered that i could try selling them in the shop. i would love to say and they SOLD! but no. they didn’t. i think they were too boring. people weren’t all that into JUST PLANTS. so i was almost going to give the idea up. shortly after showcasing my non selling terrariums i got really really sick, was in bed for weeks, lost my voice completely, my boyfriend took me to the clinic they shot me in the ass with a steroid! i was so sore and messed up. on our way home i insisted we drive to this neat old train shop. while sick in bed i had been thinking about putting small figures in my terrariums, why not stop NOW. so we did. with my sore ass and no voice i bought raccoons, chairs, a lady in a bikini, a picnic table, a dude playing a guitar and so on. i inserted those scenes into my terrariums and they sold.
it was then that i began to really play with this idea that my terrariums are not just about a way to play with my love of plants, but also an opportunity to tell a story, make a statement, shock or disrupt your assumptions
… my terrariums became art installations. the way i approach them now shares similarities to my art making process. for me making art is not only about dealing with aesthetic and creating a beautiful object, but it serves an intellectual purpose, shifts your perspective, makes you react.
my terrariums aren’t always ground breaking statements, but they do serve as a platform to reach an audience beyond the art world and be able to interact with them and deliver a bit of art in a more friendly package. i see terri planty
as a learning experience. i have only started to flirt with some of the ideas and things i want to make. i have so many more projects involving my love for plants and art that are just waiting patiently.
If by now you don’t think Bianca is someone you want to know…then I’m not sure how I feel about you. Okay, that might have been a little harsh, but really, how could you not. Anyone who uses furniture in their studio to pay an homage to Pee Wee’s Playhouse is just fine by me.
After that, you can do one of four things: