The Interrogator with Maurice Harris

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Maurice Harris is inseparable from the works that he creates. The L.A.-based florist, who runs the sought-after Bloom & Plume, specializes in the kind of verdant displays that are one part beauty and two parts exuberance–much like the man himself. His forms play with asymmetry to the point that the end result transcends the limitations of its original contents. It’s less about the individual flowers than it is the wholly unique resulting sculpture. Harris’s bouquets create a language for a new universe, one arguably more beautiful than the one we exist in here and now.

One could say Harris’s remarkable skill was inherited (he first learned about arranging flowers by watching his grandmother, a florist herself) but his eye for beauty is all his own. He regularly peppers the unexpected in with the undeniably gorgeous. Artichokes and roses, cabbages and thistles, grapes and peonies: in Harris’s world, the line between what “deserves” to be placed in a bouquet, that longstanding symbol of the cherished and fleeting, is blurred.

With summer on the horizon and life in full bloom, so to speak, we thought there was no better person to talk to at the moment that Harris himself. Below, Harris talks art patronage, Grace Jones at the Bowl, and walking down the imaginary runway of life.

cactus plant inside metal can

Place of residence:

Los Angeles, CA. Echo Park, to be more specific.

Current occupation:

Floral Designer.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A patron of the arts.

Quote to live by:

Take the time it takes so it takes less time, and always remember: Do you, boo!

Maurice Harris sitting on couch, surrounded by plants

First job you ever had:

Cart distributor at Food 4 Less.

Least favorite part of your day:

Awaking from my Tempur-Pedic pillow and memory foam bed-pad that makes me feel like I’m floating in a cloud.

Windows down, the song you’re playing is:

I constantly imagine myself walking down an imaginary runway of life with a house beat soundtrack in the background. At the moment, the song scoring my walk is Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” remixed by Kaytranada.

bloom & plume

Three guilty pleasures:

1. Dark chocolate covered raisins–which used to be almonds but I just learned I’m allergic to nuts. It actually used to be peanut butter, but, again.
2. YouTube black holes, specifically makeup and wig tutorials. #kindagay
3. Sneaking up behind my friends and scaring the shit out of them. If only I had a device to record it at the same time.

If you had to watch one movie on repeat for eternity, what would it be?  

Boomerang.

You have a million dollars to spend on art, you buy…

A Kerry James Marshall painting and hang it next to a poster of Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement.

closeup of file cabinet

Plane, train or automobile for a trip?

As long as it’s first class it doesn’t matter (even though I’ve only been in first class once).

What IS your favorite trip?

Hard to pick a favorite so here’s my top three: 1) Cuba, 2) Paris, 3) Fiji.

Personal travel ethos:

I don’t so much have a personal ethos as a belief everyone should travel to immerse themselves in different cultures to truly appreciate the diversity of the world. Engaging with people in environments outside your own comfort zone is very different than scrolling through Instagram pictures of people and places. If you have the means and opportunity, I strongly encourage everyone to travel!

Maurice Harris reflected on mirror looking at photo of naked Maurice Harris on the wall

Drink of choice:

A mojito for summer because I love fresh mint, and Crown Royal and ginger ale in the fall because it makes me feel like a sophisticated old lady. But if I’m just trying to turn up for Tuesday, then tequila shots all night long.

Beach house or tree house:

Beach house.

Where was the best meal you ever had and what was it?

It’s a toss-up. Either Yardbird in Florida (best fried chicken I’ve ever had) or El Cocinero, where I had a cucumber pasta with meatball and red sauce.

Maurice Harris sitting on chair, legs crossed, surrounded by plants

What is the best news you ever received?  

Getting my college acceptance letter, and getting approved for a loan to expand my business.

Who or what is largely overrated? Explain.  

Family-style dinners. It’s extremely overrated. You never want to be the jerk asking for seconds or thirds of a dish that’s three people away. The dish you want the most always goes first. You feel guilty with all the food on the table so you overeat. And most importantly, there’s no room for my flower arrangements.

Briefly describe the best concert you have ever gone to.  

I’m a bit biased having been the creative director for my girl Eve’s tour, but I have to say Grace Jones at the Hollywood Bowl last year. I mean Grace Jones. Need I say more? But, since you asked… to see a person who is so unapologetically themselves was incredibly inspiring, beautiful, and moving.

Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?

I travel to places with really spotty WiFi.

Photos by Tyler William Parker for SIXTY Hotels

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, specializing in music, fashion, the arts, and culture, both high and low. Her work has been featured in Cereal, Lenny Letter, and more.

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