My sempervivum obsession grew in 2019 when planting a couple of thousand plants on my rooftop, the place where I became aware of the differences between species, their visible survival techniques, their multiple textures, and colours.
Initially, hybrids evolved by adapting to their habitats and the changing climates over the two million years which separate ourselves from the ancestral plants and thereafter. In the very recent past, sempervivum evolved under the genius hands of reproducers comfortably in greenhouse nurseries, where a natural selection is curtailed by the plant’s commercial successes of their pretty colours and originality separating it from the mundane.
My friend Brennan Goddard, fascinated with the very, very deep past, infinitely large and infinitely small, too became absorbed by the sempervivum. The specialized nature of his work allowed him to imagine and then create hybrids using AI — sempervivum for a future virtual world. Here where several roads met at a crossroad with signed directions to an unknown journey Brennan and I started the Sempervivum Rickshaw.
Whilst Brennan created computer-generated plants from my paintings, I painted from life their complicated geometric patterns and logarithmic spirals, “Portraits” I call them as they are too painterly and not precise enough to fit into the category of specialized art of botanical drawings.
I paint their rosettes and flowers, (growing to maturity between one and fifteen centimeters), from photographs, taken with my macro lens and further zooming in on my computer screen.
Thereafter Alessandro Parisotto jumped on the rickshaw and proposed to take electo-microscopic photographs of a number of hybrids and their minuscules, from here we were able to define in greater detail the variations of leaf edges and filaments of the plants tiny “chicks” no more than 1 mm.
Probing beyond the invisible took us on to journey into Sempervivum history, understanding their reputation of curing all diseases and prolonging life, to repel the fire sent by the god Jupiter and their divine secrets which may even answer questions concerning the fabrication of the universe (I believe and probably not Brennan). We, and new riders of the Rickshaw, express sempervivum, in dance, poetry, voice, and more…!