Artist Creates Living Tree Alphabets

Katie Holten is a visual artist based in New York who recently created a living tree alphabet with each letter represented by an illustration of a different type of tree found in the city.

Holten’s NYC Tree Alphabet is now available as a free download to anyone who wants to write a message in the tree code. The NYC Parks Department also plans to plant some of the messages as real trees in parks and other public places.

“Being an artist-in-residence with Parks meant that I could create a ‘real’ tree alphabet. When I say real, I mean legitimate, sanctioned, approved by the city,” Holten said according to My Modern Met. “Often, this is exactly what you don’t want with/for an artwork! But in this case, because I really feel the project is a public service—providing a tool that people can use to interact with public space in a whole new way—it needed to be truthful and practical. It had to be something we could actually plant and that the city supported.”