ENVIRONMENTAL artist Lloyd Godman is a patient man. You need to be when working with plants that can take up to 10 years to mature.
"You've got to be a real Zen Buddhist monk," he says about the slow process of growing tillandsias from seedlings.
Godman, originally from New Zealand, started his career as a photographer but in recent years has turned his attention to installation, specifically creating living artworks involving plants suspended in mid-air.
The plants are fastened to lightweight metal or wire-mesh frames, with the species growing at night (not during the day) and needing little water to survive.
Godman became interested in the concept of rotating gardens when looking into photograms, where a photographic image is made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material, such as paper, and then exposing it to light.
"That's when I realised that plants are kind of like photography in that they use light to grow," he says.
"The trick really is working out how to build things so they rotate, and making sure you get the right species of plants."
The results of Godman's work, called Atmocycle, will be on show at the Incinerator Gallery's Artecycle sculpture exhibition, starting this month.
In its fifth year, Artecycle encourages Australian and international artists to create artwork that responds to contemporary ideas surrounding environmentalism and sustainability.
Doug Hall, a former director of the Queensland Art Gallery, will judge the competition.
So what's the appeal for Godman?
"There's absolutely nothing like these air gardens that are rotating in space," he declares.
"I just find them the most fascinating plants around and they continue to fascinate me."
Godman says the reaction from the public, much like the plant-growing process, has been slow-burning, yet he believes the concept will take off.
"It's taken a while for people to get their heads around because it's so different. But now the reaction is pretty amazing.
People are really starting to respond."
Godman is also working with the City of Melbourne and hopes to have an installation at Federation Square.
Artecycle is at the Incinerator Gallery, Moonee Ponds, from May 18 to June 8. Details: 8325 1750 or incineratorgallery.com.au