Native Flowers from Chile

Flores Nativas de Chile, parte de las ilustraciones y sellos postales.

Author / s: Camila Ortega  Text: Ignacio Pérez Photo: Carlos Molina Publicated in: +56 Magazine

Parte del trabajo de ilustración de las Flores Nativas de Chile.
Camila Ortega in his studio.

When seeking a project to begin the process of titling, Camila takes this idea concocted from his work in the Chilean Patagonia, with accountability and possible implications of generating new material on Chilean native plants.

The idea of ​​doing something on the subject of native plants, I noticed from the lack of information that initially observed. One of the few sources of images from which these records will get is photo community Flickr, which is an unvalidated and informal source and there is no sound or Bibliographically adequate basis”

As a first response to this question, Camila focuses particularly on the area of ​​native flora, whereas the fauna in general is more approached from the area of ​​registration.

No graphic pieces of flora, in recent years has emerged as a trend of botanical illustration, but before there was a greater interest in the subject. The first step was to see how it addressed other countries, such as Finland, Russia and Poland. They have an official register of its flora and fauna, in a systematic way and neat in Chile does not exist.

The last record was made in our country about the native flora, commissioned by the State, was conducted by naturalist Claudio Gay in 1859. This land, although it includes more than 3000 species, is not complete. There were several species that are subsequently discovered and this left behind, for example, the Chilean Orchids, being that there are several species of this flower and have a huge intangible value. “

The approach of this project comes from the photographic point of view, however both physical and economic constraints from its position, then, as a student, gatillan use illustration as a resource available to develop the material.

Parte del trabajo de ilustración y productos de Flores Nativas de Chile.
Philatelic and postal Development of Native Flowers of Chile.

“I had to go back to a job that is almost forgotten, an intermediate step between 1859 and 2014, I could not get to do something distinctly contemporary, should be contingent, I was interested that people know this Chilean flora. It’s sad ignorance of, for example, just think about the copihue as the sole representative of the flora, with our unique geographical conditions that allow us to have a richness in species.”

The compilation work done by Camila is essentially photographic or illustrative, but library research is presented as a key element, both from a scientific point of view as a literary.

Adriana Hoffmann, Chilean botany, was very important as a reference because it has two books that include material from south-central area, which brings together a number of artists and illustrators to gather information of plant species. Another book that was of great interest to this development was a text from Waldo Lazo, Travelers and Botanic in Chile during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries‘, where a record of all botanists who passed through Chile does, though he notes that, 6000 total possible species in Chile, only has a record of around 2500.

In the National Library had a lot of texts biologists, scientists who made a call for artists or designers to generate color images so that they themselves could study them. Some plants grow in very extreme and complex conditions to germinate and there are no posts about this, at least publicly.

For Camila, the choice of the flora is not purely from the point of view of the problem, but which allows a visual value that has not been completely exploited in terms of representation.

“In this state the plant is flowering somehow announcing that houses the seeds, can be seen even as a poetic act. When she dies, the seed allows the perpetuation of the species, I see it as a graphic manifestation of this process. There are particular visual characteristics of some orchids to the point that some colors were becoming almost unplayable, or great difficulty. “
Claudio Gay has a phrase that at some point is a motivator of my project, discusses the conservation of biodiversity requires knowledge and appreciation of the same object conservation, may sound very simple, but not currently the case, is basic meet goes along with the assessment

In order to generate this new material, after a process of curatorships that looked about 15 initial species, Camila pencil illustrates the selection of native flowers.

The curatorship of the species was complex, given the amount had many other neglected and iconic only took two, hence the inclusion of copihue, for example, in order to create a symbiosis between what was already known versus the new content. There is also a ‘vernacular terminology’, ie the non-scientific names given to some plants.
“Some of these names,Paw guanaco “the” flower Rooster house stories, legends, and there some sort of link with literature arises. Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda Oreste Plath or spend part of their work to plants, there is a wealth that is indissolubly attached to these plants, there’s the link to the original languages ​​of expressing that direct relationship with plants. “


Once the types are decided, Camila begins the production process of the main illustrations. The technique I was dominated illustration pencil, some made ​​of a mixture of wax and oil pastel allowed me to generate textures, color mixing and control of detail. Another vital element was the use of magnifying glass to the finer elements that had every flower, photography sometimes not allowed to get to that level, which involved creating image collections to narrow the drawings. “

An important element of the artwork is the dispossession of all the plant in order to focus solely on their flowering stage. Since it is not encyclopedic tone item, compose the target was a vital issue and framing decisions and illustration style: “Once we were already drawn, there was a rigorous scanning process to generate the secondary material, ie, prints, posters, prints and other media applications.”

Productos generados a partir de las ilustraciones de Flores Nativas de Chile.
Part of the process and artwork created by Camila. 

The first series of products include postage, from the search for a democratic piece of diffusion.

All countries have stamps of native plants, most recently in Chile in 1995 was this subject two Mapuche medicinal plants appear. It’s part of our world visible to the face and that was considered the first format, which gave the initial startup because there is not common. First left with the stamps, then with postcards, then I was necessary to include them in a web in a beta state. “

Currently this project has postcards and stamps, as well as a prototype of editorial publications. The editorial theme originates from the idea of entering the house of the people, as a collectible. It seemed important that direct relationship with content, as opposed to the web, you can not keep or store the content. The idea is to create a strategy to get used to this representation, enter the imagination of Chilean icons, but from the flowers.

Flowers Native to Chile was awarded in 2013 with Chile Design Award in the category Recognition Academy in Figure subcategory, however Camila tells us that there are still issues in development that are of interest.


“It’s the idea of giving the State the stamp Correos de Chile, and this must enter into a process of implementation and evaluation. The work was commissioned by Gay did state, however, may receive donations, is a bureaucratic process but it is viable to be implemented. “
“In a second step, I would be interested include plants that do not have common names, it is something that is not for me as a designer, but it would be interesting to move away from sciencethe classification taxon, which is a limitation to this general knowledge that I hope to achieve. In addition to continue producing and disseminating products, especially with the publication of the book that is currently only a prototype. “
“My work does not fall within the scope of scientific illustration, it is naturalistic, there are differences in how to display plants. In scientific illustration shows the parts, structures, in turn portrays naturalism and highlights its shape, color, characteristic features, etc.


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