C

Carol Montpart

Art Director

 

C

Carol Montpart

Art Director

We’ve got a thing with plants. Every time we have to make a gift, we give plants, and our friends do the same with us. They bring people together, and there’s a whole community of creatives from all over the world who love sharing their perceptions and experiences with plants. Carol turned this renewed interest in plants into an engaging magazine focusing on ‘ordinary plants and other greenery’. “It’s true that plants seem to have become a new trend, and I think that without realizing it we started our project at the same time as the trend began. But I’m not saying we have anything to do with the trend, but it’s good timing I guess.”

 

We’ve got a thing with plants. Every time we have to make a gift, we give plants, and our friends do the same with us. They bring people together, and there’s a whole community of creatives from all over the world who love sharing their perceptions and experiences with plants. Carol turned this renewed interest in plants into an engaging magazine focusing on ‘ordinary plants and other greenery’. “It’s true that plants seem to have become a new trend, and I think that without realizing it we started our project at the same time as the trend began. But I’m not saying we have anything to do with the trend, but it’s good timing I guess.”

 

The Plant Journal is not only you; it’s a collective project, isn’t it?

We are four to put together the whole magazine. I started The Plant with Cristina and Isabel Merino, and Kate O’Brien has joined us recently. The team is now split between Barcelona and London, and I think it’s a step forward. I left Barcelona because I needed a change on a professional level and also the economic climate in Spain isn’t very positive at the moment. I talked to the girls, and they told me there was no need for us all to be located in the same city and that the magazine was going to survive if I ever decided to move. So I left Barcelona and came to London and now we are doing everything through Skype and email.

How did you come up with the concept of starting a magazine dedicated to plants?

Isa and I worked together at Folch Studio for a long time with a special focus on artist books and magazines. We shared this idea to start our publication and then we got into plants. It was Isa who said: “We’re all obviously into plants, so why don’t we do an issue involving plants?” The idea started as a fanzine, but when we emailed people and told them about our concept, we realized there was so much to tell about plants. So that’s when we decided to create a journal about plants.

Plants and everything related to the botanical and the organic is so trendy at the moment. Why do you think that is?

People love having plants and flowers in their home, but there’s also a need to return to nature, to go back to the beginning. The other time I went to the cinema, and I saw this girl knitting. People are tired of the fast pace, and the hectic rush of the city, and they go for things they really enjoy, like knitting, plants, gardening. People go back to basics, and I guess we came up with the Plant at the right moment.

You’re really into plants aren’t you? Your tiny apartment is filled with greenery. It’s lush, cozy and lovely!

You should have seen my place in Barcelona. I had so many plants that  I couldn’t bring to London. Shame. But hey: new life, new plants. Most of what you see here are cuttings from friends, and every plant has a story to tell. A friend of mine is now living in the apartment of the assistant of Wolfgang Tillmans (German photographer) and he asked me if I wanted a cutting from Tillmans’ plant. Of course, I said yes! Exchanging cuttings between creatives is so nice, isn’t it? Whenever friends visit our flat, they say it looks like we’ve been living here forever, for all cuttings have exploded and have grown so fast. Our downstairs’ neighbor says it’s a bird house up here because the flat is so green and it’s always warm up here.

People in London with jobs, work on their personal projects on the side. It’s difficult for everybody I guess. You just do it.

If you compare Barcelona to London, do people have a different relationship towards greenery?

Yes, most definitely. In London, people have gardens, whereas in Barcelona people have balconies where they do their bit of urban gardening. In London in summer, you go to the park. In Barcelona, you head to the beach, and we don’t have a history of allotment, which is quite popular in London. An allotment is a community garden where people tend to grow their vegetables, fruit, and herbs. It’s fantastic. Moreover, the plant life in both cities is very different. In London, the sky is often gray, but in spring and summer flowers blossom and it gets colorful. It’s quite impressive! I’ve never seen anything like it. My boyfriend always says: “Come on, you’re from Barcelona where the weather is so much better than here.” That may be true. But Spring is so exciting in London, especially because the winter season is so harsh and it seems to last forever. London also has a special kind of light. It’s white, whereas in Barcelona the light is warmer. I love the light here, especially when it’s cloudy. In each issue, we try not to have too many stories from one place because then everything might have the same light and feeling. The idea is to have more variation.

Did your perception of plants change whilst working on the magazine?

I’ve learnt so much about plants and I keep on learning every day. I also got to know so many gardeners. With every new issue, we put the focus on one plant and then we learned so much about that plant, which is really good.

When do you have the time to work on The Plant? You also work full-time as a graphic designer at Art Review, no?

Yes, but with a project like this, it’s really important to be proud of what you’re working on. It’s quite time-consuming, and I think of the plant constantly. Right now we’re working hard on getting advertising because we would like to be able to pay our contributors. We’re working on it. It’s very challenging to work this way. You know your limits, and you know you have to work things out. It’s difficult, but you know it will work out at the end. All people in London do it like this. They all have their jobs and work on their personal projects on the side. It’s difficult for everybody I guess. You just do it.

www.theplant.info
Text: Magali Elali
Photography: Bart Kiggen
Carol Montpart