At some point in your life you have likely worked to remove weeds, either spraying them or pulling them out by their roots. Meet San Francisco-based artist, Mono Caron, a woman with an unlikely appreciation for weeds, in fact she paints them all over cities in different parts of the world.
Weeds inspire Mona and she knows all the best places to find them, such as jagged cracks along the sidewalk, or tiny holes in a brick wall. Once she finds the perfect weed growing strong, Mona uses her talented illustrations to paint murals that portray the weed at a much grander scale than it truly is, if only to beg the attention it deserves.
Learn more about Mona and check out her awesome artwork below, and don’t forget to watch the video that brings her artwork to life at the bottom of the post!
Mona despises the fact weeds are often seen as a ‘bad’ type of plant, one that needs to be uprooted and destroyed. She writes on Bored Panda, “I’m reclaiming that name, as being a weed has little to do with a plant’s intrinsic value: in the streets I find invasive species as well as benign wildflowers; medicinal herbs and plants of no use to us at all. I find them beautiful regardless, and I paint them all.”
People are either trying to get rid of weeds, or they are ignoring weeds, after all most are so small we don’t give them a second glance in our everyday life. Still, anything classified as a weed, or any plant capable of flourishing in an unintended location, is a sign of resilience and strength. In Mona’s words, “They break through what seems invincible, reconnecting the earth to the sky, like life to its dreams…”
Mona doesn’t care what type of ‘weed’ she paints; she paints all spontaneous urban vegetation, including both invasive and endemic species. She admits any plant that gets caught trespassing where it wasn’t planted is classified as a “weed,” but no matter how hard mankind tries to get rid of weeds, they always find a way to grow back.
Mona’s goal is to create artwork in public spaces that gets people talking, and thinking. She wants to bring a greater awareness to the public spaces we enjoy throughout everyday life.
On her official website Mona writes about weeds, “They may be tiny but they break through concrete. They are everywhere and yet unseen. And the more they get stepped on, the stronger they grow back.”
Mona’s Weeds project has caused her work to focus more heavily on painting paired with photography.
Mona is also heavily involved with activist work. She considers her artistic contributions to a number of social causes, rallies, and actions as “artivism.”
Mona was born and raised in Ticino, Switzerland. She attributes her love of botany to the natural environment she grew up in, along with the teachings of her mother. Her father, a theater set designer, also played a role in her interests regarding the effects certain visuals have on human emotions.
After briefly attending the University of Zurich, where she studied English, Mona moved to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University. She graduated with a BFA in illustration, and has been freelance illustrating since 1998.
Mona has since painted murals far and wide, in the US, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, and Bolivia.
Some of the murals that Mona has painted are designed to be on-site animations, in order for the paintings to not just exist, but act like weeds–growing wildly out of control despite all of the odds against them. Watch Mona’s illustrated weeds come to life in the video below.
Photo Credits: monacaron.com