Cactus Photo Art

Shop our curators' selection of cactus art prints, and find the perfect piece of art for the walls of your home or office.

The cactus is a symbol of self-reliance. Prickly, holding its own water, and standing tall or square to the ground, it thrives in the desert, where everything around it dies off.

For photographers like Ansel Adams and Richard Misrach, the cactus was a symbol of the nation and the environment. Their famous cactus photographs from Saguaro National Monument in Arizona were part of a series of desert photography, documentary but interprative, which showcased the southwestern aesthetic as a story of resilience, but also environmental endangerement.

In art and visual culture, the cactus has had a wide resonance around the world. It has been an organizing motif for many modern art movements looking for self-definition. Often associated with the desert interior, and popular in the art of the Americas, the Middle East, and East Asia, the cactus has enjoyed huge popularity among artists.

The cactus is perhaps most prominent in modern Mexican art. Movements in the early 20th century attempting to cultivate a purely "indigenous" visual culture, distinct from European artistic influences, looked to the Pre-Colombian past. There they found the symbolism the cactus held for Aztec civilization to be a central inspiration. Artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, with reference to this pre-Hispanic heritage, often featured cacti in their work.

Mexican art and its aesthetic was a great inspiration to European artists. Cactus photography by the great Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, one of the great figures of Latin American art, were among those which inspired artists of European surrealism, like André Breton and Salvador Dalí.

So great was the hold of the aesthetic of modern Mexican art, that the critic José Luis Cuevas referred to a "cactus curtain" in a 1957 article, denoting what he perceived to be the insularity and dogmatism of nationalist aesthetic principles.

Cactus Artworks on Your Gallery Wall

In a wall decor concept, cacti are well-featured as flower art. Placed on the wall of a dining room, they can have the resonance of traditional dining room decor, while inviting a desert aesthetic in place of a lush cornucopia. Treated like an artwork featuring plants, you can lean your artwork on a bannister or shelf in any room to give the impression of a botanical arrangement.

The colors often featured in artworks featuring cacti are earth-toned or green. The desert landscape is a characteristic example of sandy browns or faded orange color choices. Green art can feature natural landscapes or botanical studies which are lush or arid in nature. Pastel greens, such as the original watercolor-like digital paintings by Jiwoon Pak, are calming and pleasant to the eye, and suitable for any room of the home. The bold and colorful cacti by Korean artist Kwangho Lee are something more than decor in a simple sense: each cactus is a portrait of an individual with a huge, space-altering personality.

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