Being chosen as the Double Decker poster artist is a coveted honor for local artists. This year, Eden Flora’s colorful, child-like design was chosen as this year’s festival poster art.
“It was really exciting [when I found out],” Flora said. “It was really fun to know that I was going to get to represent the festival this year with my artwork. I am fairly new to town. I moved in July from Boston, so it immediately connected me to the community and started to get me connected to some other people around town.”
Although Flora is new to Oxford, she had already been acquainted with many Ole Miss alumni before moving to town. She said she could immediately tell the festival played a large role in the community from the various conversations she had with locals.
“I have never been to Double Decker myself, but I have a lot of friends that went to Ole Miss and my husband is an alumnus,” Flora said. “It’s a festival that I have heard about for a couple years, and I have seen how highly people regard it in this town. So, I wanted to be a part of that and just kind of step right on in.”
Flora has been involved in the arts for many years. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in fabric design from the University of Georgia and Master of Professional Studies in art therapy from the Pratt Institute. Along with her small art business she runs out of her home studio, she currently works part-time as an art therapist for an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility right outside of Oxford.
“I just help people connect with themselves in a visual way,” Flora said. “You know, Oxford is a relatively small town, and the South in general doesn’t have all that much art therapy, although it is growing. But, it was really exciting to move from a big city like Boston and then move to a smaller town and still get to keep my profession. So, I was really excited that I got to step into that, and it is a great organization to work for and I am just thankful that I will get to use my skills there.”
Flora said throughout her life, art has had a profound affect on her emotionally and physically, which is why she commonly prioritizes having her own art business on the side to deal with the pressures of everyday life.
“Even as I grew up as a little girl I always loved artwork and the making of art,” she said. “I had a lot of sad and difficult things that happened in my life, and art was really healing to me. Yes, I love art therapy, but I also need a way to take care of myself since I’m working with a lot of clients that are going through a lot of heavy stuff.”
Flora accumulated all of this passion and experience into her design for the Double Decker Arts Festival official poster, which she feels is a perfect example of her signature style displayed across all her artwork.
“I decided to go really true to my style with my submission,” Flora said. “I have a very whimsical and child-like style, and so I just thought about a double decker bus in terms of that and went from there.”
She also took inspiration from the multiple double decker bus tours she witnessed while spending time in downtown Oxford. She said she always enjoyed watching school children take field trips on the buses and felt that would make a perfect subject for her design.
Those who are interested in learning more about Flora’s work can visit her booth during the Double Decker Arts Festival, which will be located across from Neilson’s, or visit edenwflora.com.