Inspiration: Artichokes

By Erika Moen on September 25, 2011


Sacred Artichoke was my first artichoke illustration I created last year in 2010, and oh my goodness, I am absolutely itching to do some more.

When I was in high school, one of our assignments was to translate some poems from English into French- which is how I discovered Ode to The Artichoke by Pablo Neruda (who originally wrote it in Spanish). Poetry has never been what you would call “My Thing”, but this one in particular has stuck with me for the last ten years. Honestly, reading that poem was the first time I ever gave a thought to artichokes in the first place!


Artichokes are one of my most faaaaavorite plants. I love the design of the buds, the transformation the flowers undergo when they bloom, and their rich colors. They taste alright, though not really something I crave, but whenever I see an artichoke growing in somebody’s garden I always have to haul out my little camera and snap as many reference photos as I can before the owner spots me perving out on their plants and I have to run away. All these photos in this post are the results of my clandestine picture-taking.


Look at those colors! It’s like a sunset! And those ridiculous purple fronds on top? You’re killin’ me. The fact that they have those long purple fronds probably taps into my love of sea anemones as well. What can I say, I like big, poofy, colorful, tendril-y things!


The Maths were never my strong suit in school, but I’m absolutely fascinated by the geometry of artichokes’ scales. They’re so perfectly armored but still able to open and close as need be.


Ahk, I love them so much! Hopefully next year I can plant my own so I can leave the poor neighbors’ artichokes alone from my camera. In the meantime, I’ll just keep putting them into my illustrations, like this silk screen print I made a few months ago for a class (blogged here).


What, me obsessed? Never.

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