Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachael Cohen.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Until recently, I never really thought of myself as an artist, although I always enjoyed art and felt strongly about my sense of style and taste. In my twenties, I moved around a lot, both during my studies and after graduation, bouncing around the East Coast, Australia and Hawaii, until finally settling down in California.
In all these places I lived in, I always felt compelled to personalize my spaces through décor, which usually meant hanging my head scarves, jewelry, record sleeves and postcards all over my walls. However, I always loved and felt most at home in a space filled with plants, but at the time, I wasn’t great at caring for them, nor was I ever in a place long enough to truly nurture them. Then when I settled in Cali, along came succulents. I immediately felt drawn to these adorable, resilient and versatile plants!
It wasn’t until about three years ago when I began playing with succulents as a form of therapy to deal with my anxiety, that the interest became a passion, which turned into art and then, surprisingly, a business. The act of creating living art, along with therapy and a good treatment plan, really helped me climb out of what felt like a dark ditch of fear. I began making succulent art as an act of self-care, and to give as gifts for friends and neighbors. Before long, my friends were hiring me to make living art for their friends and neighbors, and within a short year, I began teaching others, through workshops, how to create and care for their own succulent art.
Now, just a few years later, I am working on my first book and doing cool interviews like this one! I never envisioned myself doing anything like this. My background is in Environmental Education with a focus on ocean conservation and communication. I attained a Masters from Scripps Institute of Oceanography and have had some awesome jobs at amazing institutions like the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My mission, then and now, is to engage and connect others with the natural world.
Through Infinite Succulent, I am able to fulfill this personal mission by inspiring others to feel connected to nature through botanical art, décor and atmosphere.
Please tell us about your art.
Though Infinite Succulent, I create botanical inspired art, atmosphere, décor, and gifts. I also do event styling, private and public workshops, and interactive educational presentations.
Currently, I am focusing more energy on botanical décor and styling (i.e., plantscaping), and of course, my first book of succulent crafts, to be published by Countryman Press in 2019. I am also working on an online store for plant lovers, which I hope to launch in August, that will highlight plant loving accessories made by fellow San Diego artisans (e.g., botanical-inspired wall hangings, planting vessels, macramé) along with my succulent and botanical art.
I infuse all my services and art with messages of sustainability, conservation and ecological interconnectivity. One of the reasons I adore succulents is due to their sustainability as drought-tolerant plants, as well as their ability to survive harsh conditions or neglect. Every day, creating with nature and these delightful plants teach me about conservation, resilience, healing and joy. It is always my hope to share this inspiration!
To learn more please see my blog at https://www.infinitesucculent.com/blog-2/.
What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
This is a hard one to answer as I have only been on the local art scene for a few years. I think in some ways, with social media providing potentially huge platforms at our fingertips, now is a liberating time be an artist. For example, Instagram provided me with career growth opportunities, as well as incredible collaborative partners, many of whom I am now blessed to call friends.
On the other hand, I think social media can be a detriment at times since it can be hard to generate consistent sales opportunities through social media alone (at least in my experience), and it can feel like you are chasing the “likes” as opposed to the actual clients! I think the best thing that anyone—cities, businesses, corporations, and just people in general—can do to support local artists is to actually compensate them for their skills and services.
That compensation can take many forms. It can be in exchange for products and services in kind or gift cards; opportunities to “pop-up” or provide exhibition or event space at no charge; and even public funding for art projects, programs and public service. In my short experience over the last few years, there have been countless times in which I have been told that I would be compensated in promotional opportunities alone.
Sometimes that promotion never panned out, and rarely did those promotional opportunities generate sales. Although it truly collaborative endeavors, when many creatives are working together and providing their skills, services and products willingly and generously, magic often happens.
So, I have had to learn, and am continuing to learn, how to choose these “promotional” projects wisely. I think what you all at SDVoyager are doing with these interviews is a truly genuine and worthwhile way to promote art and local artists, and I thank you for being so supportive!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Like all artists, I appreciate your support! You do that by hiring me for your plant art, styling or gifting needs.
Another great way to support me, while also making some amazing living art for yourself and having a blast doing it, is to come to one of my upcoming summer workshops. You can see my full schedule of events HERE (https://www.infinitesucculent.com/events/).
Lastly, you can find some of my artwork on consignment at Swirl Boutique Encinitas and Sojourn Healing Collective San Diego, or online at my Etsy Infinite Succulent Store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteSucculent?ref=shop_sugg).
- Website: www.InfiniteSucculent.com
- Phone: 760.786.4088
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @infinitesucculent
- Facebook: /infinitesucculent
Infinite Succulent, Marie Monforte Photography, Meghan Nicole Photography, Shattered Frame Photography