What happens when a symbol for peace and love is misunderstood as a symbol for vandalism? For Andrea Lahue this is an idea that she has had to recently explain and defend in a court of law. This artist’s beautiful flowers have been seen around
These “Random Acts” of art first started as a way for Andrea to uplift the community during times of depression and present art that would inspire. I have seen many of Andrea’s flowers driving around
When did flowers become a main staple in your art? What is it about the flower that you enjoy?
I’ve always painted flowers, since I can remember. How long do we have? I love so many things about flowers but what I love the most is they send a clear message of well-being, of spirit, with no dogma attached.
For people that may not know, what is “Random Act”?
My version of a Random Act is when I head out and allow myself to be intuitively guided to the perfect place to paint a flower. I have a few guidelines. The building needs to be “for lease” or abandon, and in disrepair, an eyesore in the community. There also needs to be a parking space in front, preferably in shade (my dogs usually come along). I paint in daylight, with a drop cloth, known as my magic carpet and a palate of primary colored exterior latex paint. With a brush and a ladder, I go about creating my giant botanical.
When I started painting flowers on the street, I just wanted to send a message to uplift, beautify and inspire. It was at the beginning of the depression and midway through the war the line kept running through my head, “this is a Random Act of Flower.” After a while, I started leaving my symbol, with Random Act and the year, by each flower.
What is the
I have a series of paintings called
The Cross Country Random Acts of Flowers Project is where I drive, around the country, waking in the morning, painting a flower on a building in transition and heading out to the next city or town, to do the same. There have been over 200 flowers painted in over 50 cities and towns from
To me, your flowers symbolize peace and beauty but I know that recently you had an experience where your art created a very dangerous situation for you. What can you share about what happened and what do you want to say to those who feel your art is a form of vandalism?
Yes, thank you, the flowers do send a message of peace and beauty, universally. I have been painting out for many years now, and have never had an encounter such as the one in late April. That case is still pending, as far as I know, but in short, I was painting flowers on a “for lease” building on La Brea, over some tags, and two people drove up, took pictures, took the keys out of my truck and assaulted me. It was terrifying and I reported it. Somehow almost two months later, I was arrested and charged with felony vandalism and had a $20,000 bail. The pictures they showed me, were of me smiling and painting a flower, that fateful day. It has been a terrifying and financially devastating ordeal. Thanks to my Lawyer, Grace Ayers,on July 11th the Los Angeles Police Department decided to not file the charges against me. All I know about the other case at the moment is, they have my keys in custody.
In terms of someone feeling my public work is a form of vandalism, I like to let the flowers speak for themselves.
Action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.
Why do you choose to place your art on run down buildings?
I paint on run down buildings because my goal is to uplift, beautify and inspire. I never want to hurt anyone’s business or cause anyone extra work. As there was a depression when I started, there were plenty of buildings in transition and communities really needed a bright spot.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on a painting for the TKU Benefit on August 9th , a piece for an upcoming show at the Gabba Gallery, finishing up a commission and organizing the Peru Indiana Americana Mural and ideally with a mini Random Acts Journey on the way to Indiana and on the way back.
Is there anything you want to share about your work that people may not know?
Yes, I would like people to know that I come from a long line of warriors, “freedom fighters,” if you will. My father was in the military, his father and so on and so on. As an Army brat, I knew the military was not for me, although I am aware, I am a product of those ideals; “duty, honor, country.” I would add “Liberty, Equality, and Humanity.” When my brother went off to Afghanistan in the reserves, I wondered what I could do to help this country in a quiet, powerful way, while doing no harm. Random Acts of Flowers is my way. In April of this year, I became a fiscally sponsored, non-profit, 501(c)(3). This means my work has been deemed creative and helpful to the public, and I can raise funds through FracturedAtlas.com,
and the contributions are tax deductible.
Here’s the link. fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal
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