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The Claude Monet Foundation invited me to be an artist in residence at Monet’s estate in Giverny, France, for three months this summer, with the only stipulation being that I be inspired by these surroundings.

I was a little intimidated, because I’m a cactus-lover who typically inhabits a concrete-walled studio overlooking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But upon walking into Monet’s gardens, I was instantly uplifted; my work is about anti-gravity and feminine force and sex, and there’s all that in abundance in the horticultural realm. I follow the team of gardeners as they dead-head the “fleurs fanées,” and collect the ones that are most spectacular. Then I dry them, transfer them to canvas, paper, glass. I’ve also been collecting the purple “ink” that seeps out of the irises when they collapse and have incorporated it into works on paper.

Monet struggled as a person and an artist, but his work is about sublime impressions. These images are cues to creating what I hope will also become a collection of sublime impressions.