Meet Budding Artist Patricio Rivera of Twelve Thirty Four

Patricio Rivera photographed by Roger Gallegos at Quatro y Veinte in Dallas.

An arrangement created by Patricio Rivera is not a bouquet so much as an ephemeral art installation. The Dallas-based florist has always felt a deep connection to nature, thanks largely to his upbringing in the lush landscapes of Honduras. He rediscovered his love for flowers while working as a set stylist for a restaurateur on the Food Network, and eventually set out to create his own brand of artful floral arrangements, candles, and meticulously formulated scents. For Rivera, his creative practice is about capturing an emotion, a memory, a moment in time. He’s found a way to prove that, as fleeting as they are, florals can make a lasting impact. 

Tell us a little bit about Twelve Thirty Four. 

I’ve been doing floral for about 10 years, and I’ve had my business for about seven. 

I used to work for a restaurateur who was on Food Network, and so that's how I got my career started. She needed to help setting up all her cooking sets and things like that. Flowers were a part of it, and I've always had a passion for nature. So, one thing after the other led to working with amazing clients who had acquired taste and really needed someone that could bring together something special–not just like flowers in a vessel but something with more meaning.

I also got to work with a lot of amazing brands, like Louis Vuitton, Dior, and brands like that. Seeing how much they cared about that allowed me to see the potential in it. 

Photo by Marshal Cox.

Would you say that you have a certain style or a philosophy that you bring to floral arranging?

Twelve Thirty Four stands for the four stages of life. That is, you are born, you grow, you reproduce, and then you die. What Twelve Thirty Four is doing is connecting humanity with the stage of life that you are in, and allowing you to see value in that. The work itself allows you to create a timestamp in your life for you to remember a location in your life where you needed to celebrate something, or you needed to grieve something, or you needed to connect with an emotion that you're dealing with. I aim to create a sense of feeling and emotion within the work.

What does a normal day in your business look like?

It depends, it’s always really different. I’m always working on different things. 

I’ll have meetings with clients where we just meet and talk to each other… At this stage of my career, I'm a little bit more focused on curated experiences and things that are a little bit more special. Just doing less, but doing more quality work.

I'm really focused on creating custom scents for different brands because I launched my candle line. After 10 years of nose training, I've started doing candles. I have four different partnerships that I'm working on that will be coming up soon, but I'm really excited about. And then you know I meet with people, I create scents, and I work on projects that have been approved. I source products from all over the world, and then do media work, do invoicing, do tax stuff–I do a little bit of everything! It’s endless. I could always be working. 

Photo by Cameron Lane Cook.

Did your interest in scents stem from your experience in florals?

I met the manufacturing company 10 years ago when I first moved to Texas. I was very much inspired by the body of work that they were creating. I said, one day I'm going to make my own, one day I’ll be able to afford this and I’ll be making my own scents. So, I waited like 10 years to start working on this, to be able to afford it, and to be able to create a vision that people would want to be part of. I can tell you that it's been such a success. At this point, people are just a little tired of the fast fashion type of thing. The people that are wanting for me to create custom scents for them are super into quality, and minimalism, and ‘less is more.’ They're not being cheap about spending the right amount of money to be able to create something that's going to be a signature scent for their home, or for their establishment. I feel like people understand value a little bit more after COVID.

Flowers are such a personal thing–how do you try to incorporate your client’s style while staying true to your own style?

I tell people I’m the bridge. I’m their connection to nature, and I am helping them get to nature faster than they could on their own. I feel like technology has separated us so much from nature, it keeps separating us, and so my goal is to be the bridge that connects the human to nature. I have such a close connection with nature, and that's like my favorite thing in life, so I do that with my work. 

Photo by Roger Gallegos at Quatro y Veinte in Dallas.

Does it make you sad that flowers are so temporary, or is that part of the beauty for you?

Death is such a beautiful thing as well, you know, there's something so beautiful about letting go. We often hold on to things so much, because we as humans are selfish. It's just human nature to be selfish. We want to hold on to things forever, so the gift of learning how to let go is such a powerful gift, and flowers teach you that.

If I could compare myself from the time I started doing floral and where I am today, I feel like flowers have definitely taught me a sense of grief that is very powerful. I am a little bit more at ease about making peace with the things that no longer serve my life, and I'm able to let go of them easier. I don't have to hold on to things that are no longer serving me.

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