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abstract art

These Flower-Inspired Rorschach Tests Will Leave You Feeling Grounded

What do you see in these flowers?
All images courtesy the artist

It's human to project, but it's art to interpret. Sarah Illenberger, an artist and graphic designer, draws unique connections between what she sees and what she hears, with a special focus on the natural world.

Whether she's recreating flowers out of giant paintbrushes or putting a lobster on wheels (what she calls "lobster rolls"), Illenberger's work adds an element of humor and whimsy to nature: "I've got a filter, like glasses I wear," Illenberger tells Creators. "I hunt for things and I connect them to the visual record in my brain."


After years spent primarily making illustrations and doing graphic design for the corporate world, Illenberger began branching out into more conceptual work. She started exploring the realm of food, something she found everybody could relate to easily. Her work tends to reinterpret everyday life as something clever and unexpected. It plays with the letters that make up the words. Illenberger's pantry has a melancholy melon, a pom-e-grenade and an "ARTichoke."

From food, Illenberger expanded, starting to work more with nature and animals and flowers. Her exploration into floral work started by photographing flowers at night. Illenberger likens the effect to fireworks. Inspired by the colorful abstraction of flowers, she later started experimenting with painting and printing popular flower patterns.

"My uncle was a psychiatrist in Austria and he made me take a Rorschach test," Illenberger explains. "It was about seeing things in something so abstract, and my work is about seeing things, too."

By folding a piece of paper in half, painting one side and pressing it, Illenberger created a symmetrical representation of flowers. She says she was inspired to take this simple printing technique and push it to the extreme. Illenberger created two sets of 10 different Rorschach flower prints and boxed them up, much like how a regular inkblot test would be packaged.

The result is a colorful explosion of nature that viewers can interpret however they'd like. Illenberger than photographed her most successful flowers and reprinted them as t-shirts.


Find more of Sarah Illenberger's work on her Instagram or her website.


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