When two painters met in a chance encounter at a restaurant in Brooklyn, they never would have imagined that they’d fall in love, get married, and have two beautiful daughters. And they certainly wouldn’t have foreseen teaming up deep in the heart of Texas to foster a movement that would involve switching their artistic medium to flowers.
Armed with painting degrees (hers from Texas Christian University and his from Pratt Institute), Alicia and Adam Rico decided to pick up and move to Dallas, her hometown. She had some experience working at a flower shop in New York, so they decided to combine their pursuits and open up a flower shop and art gallery. “We had a funky little space and had art openings every month,” says Alicia. “We waited to see what could support ourselves. Eventually the flowers won.”
Today, the couple owns Bows & Arrows, a floral-and-events firm known for its lush, over-the-top designs that leave quite the impression. With a big-as-Texas following in the wedding industry, they create flowers for nuptials in the Lone Star state as well as in far-flung locations from Thailand to Puerto Rico. No surprise that there’s plenty of Bows & Arrows buzz around town.
“Their work is just gorgeous,” says interior designer Cathy Kincaid, who decorated the circa-1921 Highland Park house in which the arrangements for this story were photographed. Kincaid’s richly layered rooms share a lavish sensibility with Bows & Arrows’ arrangements.
“I love that there’s so much detail in Cathy’s design, from the wallpaper to the hardware, and I think our work is heavy on the details, too,” says Alicia. “When we opened Bows and Arrows in 2009, we wanted to bring a gardenesque, organic perspective to the area.” Indeed, every Bows & Arrows arrangement has a just-plucked-from-the-garden look, perhaps belying that each and every element is meticulously selected and carefully placed.
The Ricos’ art backgrounds continually shape their aesthetic, especially when it comes to color. When choosing flowers, they try to steer clear from “straight-out-of-the-tube” colors, as they call them. Anything with a palette that fades is preferable, such as the subtle gradations on the petals of an open peony.
While they both forage and condition materials, Alicia typically makes all of the smaller arrangements and Adam handles on-site installations and the building of structures. Having mastered how to work in tandem at home, office, and wherever their flowers take them, the duo encourages and critiques one another along the way. The tiniest leaf or petal, direction or curve is not off limits. “Most of the time we can read each other’s mind,” laughs Alicia. And, ultimately, each creation reflects the shared vision of two painters who are definitely leaving their mark on the world of flowers.
By Abby Braswell | Photography by Stephen Karlisch | Interiors by Cathy Kincaid