The other day my son and I went to see, draw and SMELL the famous and rare Corpse Flower at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It was a great adventure waiting on long lines in the 90 degree weather, and squirming through crowds in the humid tropics of the conservatory. I kept calling it an adventure to keep my son from running for the hills. Haha. But once he started reading about it and after finally seeing it, he was impressed.
We hung around the perimeter of the room drawing for about two hours and made a few friends from various media outlets. Click the photo of us below for a link to the BuzzFeed article we were featured in! We got a kick out of that. The NY Post interviewed us extensively but I don’t think we were used for their piece about the exotic flower.
It was hard to settle down and concentrate with an energetic boy in the middle of huge crowds but I’m glad I got to get in some quick drawings of the crowds and the tallest flower I’ve ever seen.
So, the flower is beautiful. But it smells ugly. And it’s scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, means large misshapen phallus. I kept thinking they should’ve surrounded it with some orchids (meaning:testicles). So, on the lower left, I drew some little balls to go with the large penis. Hey, everyone there was cracking jokes, too! Anyway, besides being X-rated, the drawing is loaded with marks and dirty, “ugly” colors to illustrate it’s most famous feature. Because, in the end, it’s not the size or the rareness or the phallic shape or the 10-80 year bloom cycle that draws the crowds. It’s the stench. All those droves of people basically felt compelled to act when somebody said “Oh God this smells awful! Smell it.”