For a lot of Australians, we grow up near and with nature. It’s part of how we exist, with the water and with the bush. Has nature been a part of your life?
I grew up right by the ocean in LA. I feel lucky and privileged for that. It's not everybody that gets that luxury of just being near a tide pool. When I say like nature, it was still very suburban nature but at least I had that. It’s always been an important part of my life.
California is unique in that we have forests, mountains, the beach and the deserts all in one state. We took ski trips as a kid or we would go to the desert for the trip, we could go up the coast, to Big Sur and Redwood Forests. California in general is pretty developed, it's only increasingly so, and untouched nature is harder and harder to come by.
You said you want people to recognise plants and flowers in a new way, inspiring them to mean something else.
My partner – actually, I have to credit him for educating me – studies native flora in California and specialises in restoration and conservation. He’s a plant ecologist. Just learning from him about the importance of native flora, why they're so adapted to their local environment and how important that is, especially with the encroachment of urbanization and development. Here in California, it's precisely all the air pollution that has contributed to the decline of native California plants like sage – many of which are actually fire-resistant.
The more air pollution you have, the more invasive species you get that are incendiary. There's a direct correlation between air pollution and fire, like what happened with the California fires. When you start to kind of encroach on those you throw things off balance. And it’s safe to say that on a global scale with capitalism and climate change in general.