“I love to magnify nature, which results in making us feel tiny and part of a whole because that is what we are.”

– Pandora Graessl 


For this month’s cover, I am finally collaborating with my friend Pandora Graessl. I previously worked on an article about her wonderful Re Project and have since been keenly awaiting the perfect moment for a cover story. Pandora is truly a like-minded soul who equally aims to expand consciousness and cares about making the world a better place.

Hailing from France and Switzerland, Pandora is an artist and photographer whose work revolves around the intersection of human existence and the natural world. With a nomadic lifestyle and boundless curiosity for the planet, she crafts vibrant and immersive experiences through her photographs, videos, and installations. Recently, she showcased her exhibit, “Amor Fati: when the fire bit me,” which you can delve into deeper below. From Arles to Paris, Berlin to Los Angeles, Graessl’s creations evoke both reverence and awe for nature, transforming exhibitions into sacred ceremonies. I could not be more proud to share more of her story on Funga.



Can you tell me a bit about the process of the cover image?

It’s scenography. I’ve been exploring this process for a couple of years, essentially with my series Criatura, a study on flowers, death, and textures.
For this one, I added Snake skins, symbolizing the skin I just shed after my show, Outgrowing my old self bathing in flowers. Beauty, ephemerality and cycles.



 – Revealing themselves in ether, one last breath, dancing upon the path of sunlight and silence. Pandora Graessl captures that beautiful and precise moment of blossom within a a serie of scanography. A study of anatomy, textures and singularities.


Can you tell me about your journey as an artist?

It has been a (r)evolution. It came progressively and at its own timing. I always had this need for expression, but to claim myself as an artist took a while.
I did a brief art study when I was younger, and my grandfather wanted me to study business. Art wasn’t an option (that’s his very Asian side).
At some point, I acknowledged that it wasn’t for me and started my fashion producer career randomly. Things got quite fast and rapidly; from a young age, I was very involved with my clients and artists. The side I was most excited about was the creative part; I would always look for locations, castings, teams, ideas, and concepts, which naturally led to create my own creative studio and going into sets and developing worlds. And it kept evolving until I launched my own projects. But I always felt the way I was experiencing life and leading my projects was an art of life itself.
The Re Project (read here) was my first proper art project, and with Covid, it became evident I needed to transition and « do me.» Express the world I see and put it out there.
My artistic journey is very aligned with my personal journey, getting into my power and meeting myself.

When I did this show, I realized how much my previous career, particularly producing and creative direction, is part of my language. Fashion educated my Eye.


Amor Fati: when the fire bit me


In your bio it says that your “practice explores the relationship between human mind-bodies and the Natural dimension.” Can you discuss how you approach this exploration through your art?

The core of my work is nature. We are part of creation. Humans sometimes forget that part and separate themselves from it, and it is the total opposite of that. My subjects, in general, are nature, flowers, rocks, algae, animals, and bodies. How I present them might change the perspective, but it is really about how it influences and mesmerizes and brings this type of humbleness in us. I love to magnify nature, which results in making us feel tiny and part of a whole because that is what we are. Every time my head is spinning, I know that if I go for a walk outside and look at the trees dancing in the wind and the sun caresses me, everything calms down and becomes relative.




Dreams are something I also value a lot. What do they mean in your life and how exactly do you draw inspiration from them?

Every night is like a rendezvous; I love being awake, but I love dreaming. There were definitely moments in my life when I preferred to be sleeping or dreaming rather than awake. I questioned this a lot until I realized that both worlds were as valid. Your body doesn’t make the difference between reality when you are awake and what you live when you dream. Emotions and sensations are carved into your system in the same way. I found this quite fascinating.

I love dreaming and exploring how my mind translates my emotions. It’s like watching a film with all these clues and interpretations of your subconscious.


A Place Called Earth – Uri, Swiss Alps, 2019


Have you engaged in psychedelic exploration and if so, how has that manifested in your life and work?

Yes, I definitely have – they have helped me understand the world. My work is about my journey on this planet, and I feel like it’s been very connected; my artistic journey concretely started when I was 30 years old, roughly when I had my awakening. I took Iboga that year and feel that it saved me from at least five years of depression. I broke up with an ex-boyfriend, and it was a crazy, hard-core breakup that led to my participation in the ceremony. I came out of it having forgiven him, my parents, the world, and myself. I was like, “Wow, let’s go forward!” Plants stay within you and remain incredible guides, and I am fascinated by the wisdom they hold. They connect you to yourself and the living world.

The one time I did ayahuasca, I asked the question, “I want to know.” I want to know in my head meant I want to know if I am not crazy to see the world how I see it. I had my eyes open the whole trip and saw fractals everywhere. The sky was incredible that night; dark clouds were all around, but not one drop of rain on us. I saw the depth and composition of the universe and was completely amazed. I felt the spirit of an ancient grandmother snake, whom I saluted, “Nice to meet you.” I felt held and protected by the universe. It is not directly related to why I use so many snakes in my work, but it was another sign that my research about the symbolism of snakes, in general, was the right way. 




That leads me to the question, what is the symbolism of the snake in your work? 

Snakes, on the one hand, represent venom, death, fear, and temptation, but on the other hand, rebirth, renewal, creativity, fertility, sacredness, and immortality. What is so interesting about snakes is the duality they embody and I think nothing on earth embodies duality as well as snakes. I started studying them across civilization and all the symbolism attached to them. When you go into this matrix, what you find is pretty insane. They are at the age of times, and some even believe we stem from snake-headed humanoids – the Nāgas. You have snake gods in every religion and culture, like in Hinduism, Christianity, and the Celtic and Egyptian traditions. Some are good and some are bad, although they are mostly good. You actually have snakes everywhere on the planet and in every potential environment – underwater, on land, in the desert, everywhere!

A snake told Eve to eat the fruit of knowledge – they elevated humans’ condition and helped them evolve. You see them in the medicine sign, DNA sign, and money sign. If you follow the thread, what you find is pretty stupefying and prophetic!



Amor Fati: when the fire bit me


Can you tell me a bit about the intention behind your recent show “Amor Fati?” 

The idea initially started with snakes and flowers; my story is about that and what it represents. As I grew, I realized I was actually talking about fate and time – “Amor Fati” means the love of fate. That means embracing what happens to you, regardless of whether it is good or bad. There is always a way to find through it and there is always meaning.

Amor Fati: when the fire bit me, represents my beating by the fire, but it was also what gave me such grace and brought me on this voyage. It’s a journey into one’s own consciousness and life. It is open to interpretation; there were all these rooms in this abandoned building, and each depicts more or less a stage of an initiative journey or an emotion.

I don’t like to say what it is; I enjoy it more when people tell me how it makes them feel. I have received beautiful feedback from many who told me that it moved them so much, confronted many different aspects, and that they will carry it with them for a long time. That’s the ultimate reward.





Do you believe that our fate is planned out for us or do we have control over the way our fate plays out? 

I think there is a good balance between the two. A certain latitude is generated when we are born, but you create your fate after that. Certain things are written in the stars, but you can change your destiny a thousand percent. It is all about energy and frequency that you shift around, which in turn makes the world move around it. You attract things at the frequency that you project outwards. It is so powerful and incredible, and it is how I have gotten to understand how the world functions. I create my reality by envisioning what I want and, therefore, attract it. We are the creators of our own lives and write our own films, and everything (what you say, how you feel, your name) has an energy, and if you know how to navigate it, you can really provoke your destiny.




If you could choose to exist as a plant which one would it be?

I already see myself as a plant! Aren’t we all flowers? Blooming and rebirthing constantly.

Otherwise, I would say a Passionflower. It’s a climbing vine that grows in the northern US, Mexico, and South America. Its flowers are so beautiful and complete aliens—a Mantis and a flower in one.
They are used to cure anxiety and insomnia. I could help people to chill down, breathe and dream again <3


Pandora Graessl