The Carnation

‘The Carnation’ is a visual zine created by Cynthia Fan and Jade Paton where floral compositions are paired with art and travel photography. We chat to the duo ahead of the launch of their new limited edition calendar created in collaboration with photographer Daniel Malan.

How did the concept of ‘The Carnation’ come about?

It started with our creating flower arrangements that complemented photographs taken by Jade on a trip to Japan. Jade is a ceramicist and her parents are florists, so she has always loved working with flowers. Cynthia took a two year break from studying to work as a full-time florist at Lush Flowers, while attending ikebana (Japanese flower-arranging) classes.

The Carnation
The Carnation limited edition calendar in collaboration with Daniel Malan.

What inspires each issue?

For each issue, we collaborate with a different artist and create floral features that are inspired by a theme or style that is present in their work.

What has inspired the change of format from a zine to a calendar?

We have always loved the idea of doing a calendar. We don’t feel bound by any conventional structures or rules. The Carnation as a brand, goes beyond the zine. We often collaborate with artists on their projects. We recently created flower arrangements for Anke Loots and Carl Jones’ photography exhibition ‘Any One’, did an installation for the ‘Glitch in Vogue’ performance by Queezy at the Norval Foundation, a shoot with Lukhanyo Mdingi and are currently creating a t-shirt range with AKJP that will be launched at the Calendar release party.

The Carnation
The Carnation limited edition calendar in collaboration with Daniel Malan.

You collaborate with a different photographer each time, can you explain why this is and how you choose who to collaborate with?

We love the fact that the projects we take on are very different from each other; it keeps things interesting. We chose to collaborate with artists whose work we are instinctually drawn to. We tend to share the same taste, so find it rather easy to feel inspired and excited by the same work.

Tell us about the journey you took when creating the imagery for the calendar and how you chose or were inspired by each individual location?

We loved the idea of inserting flower arrangements into existing ‘spaces’ and felt that Daniel Malan’s work was a perfect fit for this project and the aesthetic we were after. Daniel photographs unusual interiors, people and parts of the city (often on his phone). He is able to capture moments that are weird, nostalgic and visually pleasing, and he has the ability to spot details in every day life that others might overlook. Like us, he embraces dated and ‘unfashionable’ scenarios, which we felt complimented the style of floristry we wanted to explore. We love what is considered to be ‘bad taste’ floristry from the 80s and 90s, using and combining elements that are frowned upon today. In doing so we believe to be pushing the boundaries of what is considered to be beautiful.

We were also excited about the project being local, we shot in a variety of businesses and buildings in and around Cape Town.

The Carnation
The Carnation limited edition calendar in collaboration with Daniel Malan.

‘The Carnation’ will be releasing their limited edition calendar created in collaboration with Daniel Malan, Saturday November 24 at 4pm at Shop Collective.

They have also teamed up with AKJP to create a range of T-shirts that feature a selection of images from the calendar and will be available on the day, as well as creating a window display and installation inside the store with NEBNIKRO and Daisy Darling.

Krone is sponsoring the event.

The Carnation
‘The Carnation’ X AKJP T-shirt

Read 5 Minutes with Ben Orkin5 Minutes With Illustrator Rudi de Wet5 Minutes With The PH Centre Photo Gallery and Bookstore next.