Lewis Miller never expected to be tagging his initials on New York sidewalks, but lately, the fourth-generation horticulturist has become a veritable street artist. After growing up on an almond orchard and spending years working as a landscape designer on the West Coast, he opened his eponymous New York floral studio in 2002. When the recession hit, his business took off.
“Suddenly, all of the conspicuous and over-the-top events started to feel outdated and gauche,” he explains. “We really stepped up at that moment when people wanted luxury without feeling self-conscious.” Today, his business focuses primarily on large-scale weddings and event installations, executed in a painterly style that has earned a devoted clientele that includes Carolina Herrera, Chanel and Givenchy.
In the fall of 2016, Miller and his team started a series of Robin Hood-esque guerrilla flower installations on the streets of New York—abundant expressions of joy composed primarily of blooms repurposed from client installations that bring his classical yet unrestrained aesthetic to municipal trash cans and city monuments. “Flower flashes were born out of two dueling forces: the desire to give back, and to personally push some creative boundaries,” explains Miller. He tags each flash with “LMD x NYC” in chalk paint, a stamp as ephemeral as the arrangement itself. “Installing the flower flashes are exhilarating. We don’t get permission from the city to do them, so when we pick a storied location, like The Dakota, we all get a bit nervous—but I guess that’s what makes it street art. So far, none of us have gotten arrested!”