In case your ego was in­flated from fin­ish­ing that 1000-piece puz­zle, be­hold the mas­ter of pa­tience.

YEN - - CONTENTS - WORDS AN­NIE SEBEL PHO­TOS DUY ANH NHAN DUC See more at duyanhn­han­duc.com and @duyanhn­han­duc.

Paris might be un­der­go­ing the great dan­de­lion short­age of this decade and it's all due to one man: artist, na­ture-lover and high priest of pa­tience, Duy Anh Nhan Duc. Orig­i­nally from Viet­nam he found him­self walk­ing the streets of Paris, bag in hand, ready to swoop on a fresh dan­de­lion, all thanks to his par­ents' de­ci­sion to up roots and move to France when he was ten. Gone were his days in Saigon, roam­ing the streets with friends, climb­ing trees and en­joy­ing the lush trop­i­cal plants, fruits and sun­shine. They were re­placed with a lan­guage he didn't speak and a coun­try he knew noth­ing about. "Dur­ing my first years in France, I missed the trees and more gen­er­ally veg­e­ta­tion. Draw­ing soon be­came my bub­ble of oxy­gen; lit­tle by lit­tle I was draw­ing a fan­tasy world where trees and plants rule as mas­ter." While to­day he might not miss much about Viet­nam, his love of na­ture and plants has a tight hold. His dream is to "meet the Ama­zon", and jaunts in na­ture recharge him and in­spire his work. "Na­ture fas­ci­nates me. It all starts with a fas­ci­na­tion for a spe­cific species. It could be the ar­range­ment of the pe­tals of a flower, the ar­chi­tec­ture of a seed, the shape of a leaf, a frag­ile shoot... I love get­ting lost in na­ture. I can spend days in the wilder­ness con­tem­plat­ing and col­lect­ing, and this mo­ment is my

favourite one in my cre­ation process. I be­come again a child in a trea­sure hunt." But there's one plant that is his kryp­tonite; the dan­de­lion. "They are a won­der­ful in­ge­nu­ity of na­ture," Nhan Duc says. "Un­der their ap­par­ent fragility, they are one of the most skilful and vig­or­ous species in the plant king­dom. For me they evoke un­tamed na­ture, free and wild. The dan­de­lion is ever-present in my work, they fas­ci­nate me. Work­ing with them re­quires time, pa­tience and pre­ci­sion. When I start [a new work], months have been re­quired to understand how to tame their volatile egrets in or­der to

col­lect, trans­port and ap­ply them." Mainly col­lected from the south­west of France, Nhan Duc also keeps an eye out for dan­de­lions while pound­ing the pave­ment in Paris. "My last ex­hi­bi­tion at Co­lette re­quired no less than 5,000 dan­de­lions, all picked by me, one by one, in the south­west of France," says Nhan Duc. "My work­shop is in Paris, and when I walk the street, I al­ways have a spe­cial empty bag with me for plants. As soon as I see a

dan­de­lion, I pick it up. Above my desk, in my stu­dio, there are al­ways dan­de­lions dry­ing." Once the dan­de­lions are pro­cured and dried, Nhan Duc del­i­cately dis­sects the plant and pro­ceeds to use pli­ers to place each egret in its as­signed po­si­tion, re­peat­ing the ac­tion over and over, hun­dreds of times, un­til the del­i­cate geo­met­ric com­po­si­tion is com­plete. It is "a metic­u­lous job that I par­tic­u­larly like

be­cause it's really a spe­cial mo­ment with the plant, a kind of med­i­ta­tion." Next, Nhan Duc is work­ing on more botan­i­cal sculp­tures, this time de­part­ing from dan­de­lions to em­brace wheat. "I want to con­vey the feel­ing that I have when I look at a wheat field danc­ing in the

sun." No mat­ter what the project is, it's just an ex­cuse to "tell sto­ries about the plant king­dom."

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