To me it’s a fascinating story of art meets commerce. Art Parkerson grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia as the son of the owner of a wholesale grower – Lancaster Farms. Art considered art school but chose instead to take over the family business when the time came. Also taking him away from art? Having 6 kids.
But after a decade of all-business and family, he started scratching his artistic itch again when his brother-in-law, a filmmaking student in New York, made a film in the nursery. While helping with the project, Art realized that having made videos throughout high school, he knew as much about storytelling as his actual-film-school relative!
It takes more than a bit of talent to make movies, though; it takes time, which Art doesn’t have. But inspired by a philanthropist’s support of a local museum, he realized he could pay others to make the art that he’s passionate about – stories of plants and their impact on people’s lives. Observing the attention paid to clothing as art in the fashion world, he decided that “plants, too, deserve to be on the highest artistic pedestal.”
So in the role of “art director,” Art and his team at Lancaster Farms began making videos. They included time-lapses, plant porn with the pansies they grow, and just-cool stuff like “Dormancy, a Video Poem.”
Turns out they didn’t help sell plants. But commercials that do sell plants – what fun are they to make?
Seeking Plant-People Stories
Eschewing how-to garden videos, PlantPOP prefers storytelling in the style of radio’s “This American Life.” Noting that plant stories today focus primarily on growing edibles, Art hopes to fill the void by showing plants as sources of beauty, ripe for aesthetic appreciation.
So do YOU have a story about how plants have improved your life or the life of someone you know? Got an emotional connection with plants? Leave a comment here or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stories PlantPOP has filmed so far include “Tony Avent, Plant Hunter,” “Brie Arthur Transforming the Suburban Landscape, “Brent and Becky, Collectors and Completers” and this one about blogger Les Parks:
PlantPOP is also looking to hire filmmakers in other parts of the U.S. (and especially filmmakers outside of the plant world) to tell these stories. So spread the word!