Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mosaic Inspiration

When people view my work, they wonder...
how did you get from this [above] to this [below]?

How did I end up creating mosaic portraits 
out of junk mail?

Well... imagine two lines in space...on a course to intersect. 
My work represents those converging lines.

Line one - I've always painted portraits. Years ago, I started attempting to make my paintings resemble mosaics. Like, actually painting the "grout" or grid lines. Didn't look great. I am a pretty good painter, this just didn't do the trick.

Line two - I started doing traditional mosaic work, studying the ancients... in Italy, in Turkey, in Cyprus. I did a great job creating the obligatory planters with broken china. I created a celestial tile mosaic on my kitchen counter. I did my bathroom floor using 40 shades of blues, greens, metallic, white... glass tiles. And many other pieces. I am a pretty good mosaic artist.

THEN...I saw the mosaic stained glass portrait in Venice [Italy]... so I started to attempt to create portraits out of tile...out of glass...out of stone...out of buttons...and then paper. 

It started small, and it grew. became more intricate...more challenging...and eureka! I found my groove. I've been creating a connected body of work in this style, using my own technique for many years now. 

I hope you like it! - Now, here's some inspiration and examples. Enjoy.

Part of the reason I created an "Angels & Icons" series came from my love of religious mosaics and Russian Icons.
glass mosaic
glass mosaic
My first attempt at paper mosaic, influence by religious glass mosaics
Russian Icon
glass mosaic

There are more - check on my site for Saints, Angels, & Icons.

Arabic tile work, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Antoni Gaudi are other inspirations:

a paper mosaic I created to match my bathroom floor
Tiffany glass mosaic portrait
Travel also inspired me - to locations in the Mediterranean, but I have yet to visit Barcelona [home of Antonio Gaudi] or Samarkand.
my bathroom floor
an early attempt at junk mosaic -I created this in 2005 from buttons, beads, toys, etc.
Antonio Gaudi mosaic in Barcelona
Tiffany glass mosaic

The Empress Theodora and her retinue. I still have this drawing in my studio for inspiration

Please feel free to view my site [click the link below] or email me to ask questions, inquire about purchasing original art or to represent me at your gallery!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Kindest Cut

Yes, it's me and my scissors again.

I am working on this intricate portrait. As I was going yesterday, I started to think of how many times I cut ONE piece of paper to create the "tiles" I fit together.

  1. First, I cut the from the "raw material"- whether it's a postcard, catalog cover, packaging, business card...etc. One hack to separate a block of color from the rest. 
  2. Next, as I go through any particular box of colors, I look for the exact shades and CUT a strip.
  3. I cut the strip into squares. 
  4. That's two cuts - one on each side.
  5. Now, some of the pieces are fine as a square, but not too many. If it's good the way it is, it gets glued.
  6. But, if I'm going around a curve, there's another cut to make it fit.
  7. If it's in a tight spot, it might take another trim or two
  8. or another. I counted. Most squares get cut at least once more, many of them three times. Which means I'll glue it down, pick it up, trim it again.
Sure, it's pretty tedious to cut ONE PIECE of paper [and there are hundreds if not thousands included in each piece of work I finish] as many as EIGHT times, just to get it right.

I never repeat the same source of paper next to another - so if you'll look closely, you'll notice bits from that postcard from the neighborhood dentist is next to an old birthday card, next to the Nordstrom catalog cover, next to the insurance salesman's business card, next to a magazine fly card, a movie ticket... and so on. Why? It's just the way I do things.

So, I am somewhat process driven, somewhat image driven, and color is always behind everything.
Check out my work here: