Badass Women in Bed : Floral Artist Sophia Moreno-Bunge
Sophia Moreno-Bunge is a Floral Artist and founder of ISA ISA FLOWERS. Her unique style and approach to floral arrangement as a true art form is inspiring, as is her triumph over life's curve balls despite her young age. We are so happy to be working with her this Mother's Day and even more ecstatic to share some of her energy and mindfulness with our audience.
How did you get into floral artistry?
I've always been really interested in plants and flowers. Growing up I had a "club" with one of my best friends. Every Saturday morning we would go on flower walks in my neighborhood to smell roses and pluck flowers. In my early twenties I was looking for a job after having a couple of jobs that were not very fitting for me and I came across an article in the New York Times about a floral artist and scuptor named Emily Thompson. The article was about this crazy forest installation, complete with a large forest stump and real, dried bugs! I wrote to her and visited her shop. I was enamored. I knew I had to work for her; I started an apprenticeship and was ultimately hired.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your arrangements?
I see inspiration in color and shapes and unconventional places. From the color of an old flaky building facade to textiles and fashion. I have a background in art & photography, and I'm very influenced by my studies. I feel like floral art is a mix of painting and sculpture. I love composition and negative space and odd graphic moments. I'm lucky to be working with beautiful and intriguing materials that often take on a shape of their own while I'm working with them.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
When I'm working on a flower project or installation my startes with an early morning trip to the flower market. I'm back by 7 or 8am to begin crafting my arrangements. I fill buckets with water, process the flowers, clean them and then begin arranging. Floristry is a lot of cleaning and organizing. It can be a very a physically exhausting job. The creative process before the making can be really amazing - collecting inspiration images, storyboarding ideas, envisioning how to transform spaces.
How would you describe your sensibility/style?
My style is playful, modern, and wild, but intentional. I hope that it is also elegant.
Why is your work important, and what do you feel it says about you?
I Working with flowers is an art form that I love, and at the end of the day, I am an artist. Working with flowers and being around them is healing. My dream is to have a beautiful space, where people can visit and have tea and listen to music, and be surrounded by plants and flowers. I guess you'd call that a shop! I like what a beautiful, seasonal flower shop can bring to a neighborhood - beauty, nature, inspiration. I think it encourages curiosity, and from my experience, adds joy to a community. Those things are all important to me. I like bringing beauty into people's lives - making them pause for a moment to appreciate flowers; they are very of this world (they come from the ground after all) and yet they're also somehow very other-worldly.
What are your favorite flowers or plants to work with?
I LOVE SO MANY. I love magnolia and dogwood and flowering branches in general. At the moment I'm loving the strange succulent blooms that I find in California. Their colors are so incredible: hot pink to coral and purple all in one bloom. They didnt grow on me until I moved to Los Angeles.
Do you have a favorite event or occasion to arrange for?
I like working on creative photoshoots for editorial, print or web. I find that it's those projects that require and reward attention to detail and for some reason I'm attracted to that pursuit of perfection.
How do you stay inspired?
Travel, downtime, reading, walking both in cities and nature and looking at everything around me.
If you had the chance to go back, what would you tell yourself at 18?
This is a hard one. I think everyone has different obstacles, so what I might tell myself is very different from what someone else might tell themselves. I would probably say, chill out girl and don't worry so much. Listen to your intuition and trust yourself; the things you fear are not worth fearing. You can handle and adapt to whatever comes your way.
What are your secrets for balancing life, love, and work?
Some of my tricks for shutting down "work head" include trips to the Korean spa and forcing myself to take full days off: no work, email... nothing. I try to be very present in each thing I do so my time is maximized. This is very hard and requires lots of planning (even planning to have no plans). Another key is knowing when to say no.
How do you balance working on both coasts? Do you have a favorite?
I assume eventually I will have to choose one coast but for now I really enjoy both. New York is very inspiring. I love the seasons and miss them when I'm in LA, but winter can get very long and weary. Going from one place to the next schlepping bundles of flowers and buckets of water and installing events rain or snow can be a real challenge. That said, I love the spring and summer lushness of the East Coast. California is great because I love living near the ocean and being close to family. I could go on and on. How do I balance it? I am not sure. I'm just only figuring it out; I think rest is a big one.
What mantra do you say to yourself to get through tough times?
Breathe & be very nice to yourself. Everything will be alright because you are strong and can get through anything, really.
Who inspires you?
So many people! My brother and my close friends, girlfriend, my mother, grandmother, and father are all very inspiring to me in similar and different ways- their kindness, continued efforts to grow and shed the old and change. They have tremendous creativity, passion, and an admirable lust for life. My old boss and mentor, Emily Thompson is a big creative inspiration. Working for her was challenging, rewarding, and amazing.
Any advice to any budding badass ladies ready to take a leap?
Are you ready to work your butt off?! Trust your instincts, ask for help, talk to people/work for people who are experienced in what you want to do. A good and happy team is the best thing in the world.
What do you like to do to unwind?
I really love going to the beach, spending time doing nothing with friends, eating delicious food, and yoga. I have a new tradition of going to the Korean spa with my best friend. We sit in hot tubs and rock rooms and chat or relax in silence. We even have dinner there in our funny little robes! It's such a nice tradition. I don't think our culture stresses the importance of doing nothing. It's a very healthy to set time aside to just relax and unwind.
Coffee or tea?
Both! One coffee in the morning, tea the rest of the day.
What is your “must have” for a good night’s sleep?
No computers before bedtime. And a very comfortable bed. Investing in a bed is so worth it. You use it every single day of your life!
Funniest bedroom story?
Oh so many. Growing up I shared a room with my brother and our beds were close enough we could jump from one to the other, and we spent lots of time doing so!
Big thanks to Sophia for indulging our questions and sharing a glimpse at her daily life. We love her thoughtfulness and modern aesthetic and look forward to seeing where her creative direction takes her next. If you'd like to meet Sophia and see her gorgeous creations in person, stop by our Lunya + ISA ISA FLOWERS Mother's Day Pop-Up this Friday, May 8th in Santa Monica!
Photos courtesy of Sophia Moreno-Bunge, last photo by and in collaboration with Brittany Asch.