When I first spied Crystal Floyd’s terrariums spotted around at Bold Bean, I pretty much fell in love. I have a soft spot for succulents. Especially those that are all encased and beautifully presented in a glass bowl… I then realized that Crystals desk and workspace was the one that I had been gawking at (the most incredible inspiration wall you have ever seen) set up in the same CoRK studio space as the lovely Jamie Jordan. Crystals work is beautifully, strangely unique. Every piece, be it a preserved and mounted insect, a screen print made from coffee ink, or indeed her stunning terrariums, all have their own special story. My favorite is a glass box encasing hundreds of un-split wishbones that had been collected and saved by a lady, and had been found by Crystal after the lady had passed away. Crystal described it as 'a box full of unused wishes'. It seems that Crystals work as a visual artist is draw from an insightful, alternative perspective on the natural world, one that she so passionately showcases, right down to the tattoos on her thighs. Crystals work is currently being featured at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters here in Jacksonville and can also be viewed on her personal website.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on several commissions, some from people who have contacted me after seeing my current show that is up at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters. I will be creating works for a show with Eric Gillyard in the Fall, which I am excited about because he’s super fun to work with and I admire his artwork immensely. I am planning another succulent workshop at Eat Your Yard Jax for sometime next month and will continue to do more classes with Tim Armstrong, who owns the farm. Otherwise, I’m in the process of updating my online portfolio and hope to broaden my audience by showing work nationally & internationally.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mostly nature and science, I try to get outside as much as possible and immerse myself in the environment and feed myself as many nature documentaries as I can get my hands on. I try to keep myself grounded and stimulated, so I tend to switch up my mediums every so often and enjoy learning new techniques. I want to know how to do everything, haha. My influences would include the natural world as it is and was, history, biology, archaeology, adventurers, oceanic explorers, folklore, Florida’s flora and fauna, Sir David Attenborough and other inspiring naturalists. Artists who have been particularly inspiring to me are John James Audubon, Maria Sibylla Merian,Charley Harper, Walton Ford, Joseph Cornell, Gregory Euclide, Andy Paiko, Mark Dion, Brian Dettmer and a myriad of scientific and educational illustrators from my childhood.
Tell us a little about your creative talents and passions.
My interest in art started at a very young age. As a child, I often accompanied and assisted my mom while she completed various mural commissions in private homes as a painter. On weekends, my father would build furniture and we would help him, staining wood or whatever small jobs might assist him. I feel like my upbringing taught me that you really can do it yourself and there are no limits to my creative expression. It just takes time and practice to get there. I almost always had a project going at any given time when growing up. Lately, I most enjoy assemblage, collage and working with found objects, supplementing and utilizing my interest in science as a medium by incorporating entomology and items collected in nature into my work. I would really like to end up building museum displays, illustrating educational information in a beautiful and inspiring way. I am current on the young professionals Board at the Museum of Science and History and hope to be able to play a part in helping bring new life to their programming and raise interest in their museum. I used to volunteer in their naturalist center and helped with the animal shows. A lot of people don’t know that resource exists and I believe it could be a great tool to help educate people about the native species around them in the area. I would really love if my work could help in the conservation of our environment and native species that make this area so unique in any way possible.
Was there a specific moment for you where you realized that you wanted to work in a creative profession?
Not really, I have just always made things because it is therapeutic and fun. I actually prefer to have a day job so that I don’t become exhausted by creating and have to rely on forcing it to pay my bills. I am lucky to work for a non-profit that supports my creative endeavors.
What is a typical day like for you?
During the week, I work for Riverside Avondale Preservation and Riverside Arts Market. I am their financial manager, my experience in administration for 10 years with a family law attorney made the job a perfect fit and I am glad it is directly related my neighborhood. When I’m done working, I usually go work in my studio, garden at home, play with my dog and visit friends. I keep myself busy and can say that I’m never bored! I try to involve myself with various community projects that arise to keep things interesting. I’m also the Event Coordinator at CoRK Arts District, where I have my studio.
If you could travel to any part of the world right now, where would you go?
Oof, tough question, my bucket list is quite long. I would love to do a trip to Machu PIcchu and the Galapagos Islands, as it has been a lifelong dream. Otherwise, Iceland has been in the cards lately and there are tons of fun outdoor adventures to be had there. I could go on…
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
That is one of the things I wish I was better at and hope to improve on in the near future. My favorite meal to cook at home is probably some sort of pasta with lots of veggies and fresh bread.
What is the most difficult part about working in a creative industry?
I would say that it is putting yourself out there, with the fruits of your creative energy on display for everyone to see . I am self taught and not accustomed to harsh critiques & rigorous classes, so I feel like I’m still a sensitive soul. I just make stuff that I love making in the hopes that some one else will feel connected to it the way that I do. I have no expectations or underlying motives when making it, but your audience doesn't know that and some people have weird assumptions about an artist just because they take that leap.
The best part?
Getting to immerse yourself in your work and to meet other like minded folks who are working towards passionate goals. I am fortunate to know a lot of talented and inspiring people and have the opportunity to work with them on projects.
What do you love most about Jacksonville? I feel like Jacksonville has a lot of untapped potential and it is located in a great climate that is surrounded by loads of beautiful natural places. A lot of the young creatives I have grown up alongside are now old enough to take leadership positions and actually start affecting change.
What are your sweetest daily moments? Drinking coffee to get the day started, playing with my dog, brainstorming ideas with my boyfriend, watching woodpeckers visit my feeder, sitting on the porch and enjoying the weather after work .