Flowers for all

Artwork copyright (c) Tucker Nichols. Click to enlarge.

Flowers for all

By   |  May. 25, 2024

When The Pando Awards exploded upon Los Angeles with all the energy and enthusiasm of a fireworks bonanza, outstanding folks received their awards with flower paintings created by artist Tucker Nichols. 

Well, these are no ordinary flowers, and Tucker is no ordinary artist.

His work has been showcased all over, from The New York Times to the New Yorker to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Den Frie Museum in Copenhagen. His flower series are a part of a long-running, multimedia project titled Flowers for Sick People, where he engages with the difficulties of illness and suffering.

In March 2024, he released a book that presents a collection of paintings and short poems entitled Flowers for Things I Don’t Know How to Say. As his work has been instrumental to Pando—featured in most of our programs and on our website—we asked Tucker to talk about flowers.

This is what he said:

I make lots of flower paintings because flowers speak a secret language nobody really knows how to speak. They’re amplifiers of occasions. And of course they’re a terrible form of communication but at the same time, they’re absolutely perfect.

Flowers are the opposite of words. They’re not logical, giving flowers has to do with exploring big feelings and celebrations and things that are hard to put into words. 

They fill in the blanks where words fail.

And I think that Pando asks us to think and feel bigger, to work toward a bigger, more unspoken goal that’s not self-centered, but world-centered. 

Pando is a big, magic, connected unselfishness, and it seems to me that flowers are the perfect shorthand for that.

You give flowers on special occasions, like your daughter’s play. When you bring flowers and give them, there’s a communication that is unlike anything else. You’re saying you are really proud. 

You really thought that this is a big important occasion. It is not ordinary. It matters. 


They bring magic. And when you get them, sometimes it feels like they brought you a miracle.

We always had sinks full of them when I grew up, because my mother was a competitive, incredibly skilled flower arranger. 

So I knew all about Big Flower Occasions, and when I was in middle school, Valentine’s Day was the biggest of all Big Flower Occasions. 

There was a flower delivery service that would deliver carnations to classmates in the middle of class. 

And the colors put big meaning into the carnations:

White ones meant, “We’re friends.”

Pink ones meant, “I have a crush on you.”

Red ones meant, “We’re a power couple and everyone should know.”

Therefore, for me, Valentine’s Day was incredibly nerve wracking. 

I didn’t know what to think, or to hope.

I didn’t WANT to get a flower but I didn’t want to NOT get a flower. 

I got mostly white flowers.

These are some of the flowers that Tucker created for Pando to express our admiration and thanks on our Big Flower Occasions.

Members of the Pando writing team include Rich Binell, Alexi Caracotsios, Amy Goldberg, Rebecca Schmitt, and Eugene Shirley.