Marisa has had many incarnations. A lifelong dancer who, upon moving to New York, fell into fashion, styling for almost a decade. It was with a craving for nature that she turned to flowers. The beautiful world of Meta Flora was born – known for Marisa’s sculptural and finely balanced arrangements that toe the line of art.
Still, she identifies first as a dancer. Behind the monstera and strings of orchids, there’s so much more to Marisa’s story. So after a morning at the flower market, Marisa invited us over to talk about life before and with flowers.
What are three things that define you?
Dance, searching for beauty, NYC.
And what gets you up in the morning?
Flowers! This career requires getting up early to get to the flower market.
For someone who’s never been to New York’s flower market, can you paint a picture?
The flower market is a bounty of beauty, a city block full of markets with flowers and plants overflowing onto the streets. It’s a treat to the senses especially for a New Yorker. I get a small fix of nature and color that I need.
Tell us about your life before flowers.
Before flowers I worked in fashion as a stylist assistant for nearly a decade.
And why the career shift?
I was ready for a change and I remember distinctly choosing flowers. I wanted something of my own... something mellow.
What do you love most about flowers?
It’s so nice to work with something alive and from nature, especially in NYC where I crave more of that. They add color and life to my day.
What's your style, when it comes to flowers?
I think because I’m relatively new at this it involves experimenting and freestyling. And, undoubtedly, I think about form and movement in relation to dance.
How is it different to working with other mediums?
I find it similar to my past work in fashion: gathering, carrying, putting things together.
And what's your style, when it comes to fashion?
I mostly wear vintage and try to stick to the classics. I’m into a timeless uniform and a limited color palette. Working with flowers has changed the way I dress – definitely more casual, sporty-type workwear. It can be a laborious type of work that requires getting dirty.
What music do you listen to when you're working?
Usually classical or jazz.
Any favorites, albums of note?
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Alice Coltrane’s Journeys to Satchidananda.
You've mentioned dancing and how central it is to your life...
I’ve been dancing since I was a child. I still take dance classes as well as teaching occasionally. It remains my passion and what I live to do. It formed my body and mind in regards to movement and shape, as well as made me who I am. I still identify as a dancer.
How do these creative forces interplay in your life?
They most definitely all come together in regards to work and the rest of my life. They reinforce and play off each other. I think you can see movement within my work. Sometimes the flowers look like they themselves are in motion. A lifetime of being trained to study the lines of the body has made its way into my compositions and the silhouettes I create.
What does it take to live a creative life?
For me, it doesn't feel like an effort, it’s just part of the daily. What fills me up.
And finally, what life lessons do you know now, that you wish you'd known ten years ago?
That you are always evolving, learning, changing. I think ten years ago I was just eager to figure it all out. Now I better appreciate where I am right now.
By Neada Jane
Photography by Bec Lorrimer