Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jingletown's Mosaics

There is a small neighborhood in Oakland that is a hidden jewel.
It's called Jingletown and it is covered in mosaics!
Relatively few people know about it though.

It gets it's name from back when it was a working-class neighborhood. The men would walk home on payday jingling their money in their pockets - hence the name.

I always compare this area to Balmy Alley in San Francisco - a neighborhood covered in art by artists working under the radar.

Many many mosaic artists, including me, contributed their skills and time to these murals.

But whereas painted murals are standard in the mural game, mosaic murals are much more rare, I think.
And whereas paint is a flat medium, mosaics are 3 dimensional and sparkly!

The neighborhood itself is little more than several square blocks of artists' warehouse lofts, condos, older homes and small businesses on the Oakland Riviera, between the Park Street Bridge and the Fruitvale Bridge.

It's an easy stroll for any art lover who wants to discover a new place.

These photos are presented here with very little description and are in no particular order.

I am doing this on purpose.

The mosaics range in size from sidewalk planters to creations that cover entire walls of buildings.

Just come, take a walk and experience this unique neighborhood for yourself.

Then have a nosh at Kefa Cafe or a drink and dinner at Tiki Tom's restaurant.

Jingletown is also a part of the East Bay Open Studios in June every year and holds an Art Walk of it's own in early December.

Again, these are purposefully presented with no information. Intrigued by what you see? Then come on down!

And note that some will be found inside buildings, not on them!

Mosaic teachers, students and volunteers all contributed to this neighborhood covered in art.
There are too many to name, really.

The orange dots on this map give you an idea where to find these mosaics.
Learn more about Jingletown at

Isaiah Zagar in Jingletown

In the previous post you may have recognized the very cool style of one particular mosaic artist: Isaiah Zagar.

He lives in Philadelphia and has covered the famous South Street area with his own style of mosaics.
He has now done several in Jingletown too.

As with the last post, I am not going to be specific about where his mosaic murals are. Just come to Jingletown, follow the map and see for yourself.

Hint: this particular mosaic is technically outside of Jtown.

It's on Blanding Street in Alameda - just across the Park Street Bridge.
The red dots indicate the locations of his mosaics.

To learn more about Isaiah Zagar, click here.
To learn more about Jingletown, click here.

Jingletown Mosaic Frog Walk Installation

While you're in Jingletown, be sure to try to find all 20 (approximately) little mosaic frogs!

I've been told this is a new favorite pastime for kids and dog-walkers alike.

Here's a map to help you zero in on them.

Look for the frogs in the "red" areas.

These small frogs are sprinkled about the 'hood to be discovered when you least expect it!

Look high and low.

They're everywhere!

Have fun.
For more about Jingletown, click here.

Jingletown Open Studios 2009

To find out more, go to

Peacock & Coffee Time Mosaics

These are two of my latest pieces that will be shown in this year's Open Studios at 4:20 Gallery.

Mirror, Glass and Tile mosaic
18" x 26"

Coffee Time
Mirror, Glass & Tile Mosaic
15" x 20"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"FIZZ" Mosaic, March 2009

Delaine Hackney's latest mosaic installation was completed on March 21st, 2009.
This is Delaine.It is called "Fizz" and decorates the facade of the ShadZee Bakery at 6o Crescent Drive in Pleasant Hill, CA. This piece consists of 6 panels that measure 5' x 6' each and 4 panels that measure 1' x 5' each. The mosaic work took a couple of months and the installation took two weeks.

Before, above. After, below.

Before, above. After, below.

Before, above. After, below.

The design is comprised of impressionistic bottles done in a sort of 60's style.

(that's me!)

Each bottle is a different color and uses tiles, broken dishes, marbles...
you name Delaine's unique style!
The weather was mostly excellent - wonderful Spring warmth, not Summer frying!
The first panels went up in one day. By the second day we were grouting the first panels in the morning then moving on to install the next two in the afternoon ...
and so on.

The install went smoothly but the most tiring part was dealing with the scaffolding.
Every morning and every evening the "Schlepping of the Scaffolding" would commence. I had to photograph the experience one day! Here are Delaine and Julie demonstrating!
The top "walls" were about 30 feet in the air. They, and then the cross bars securing them, needed to come down first.
But by doing that we had to take down the very things that made us safe up there!
Then the highest platform needed to come down....and, again, with every little bit we would remove, the scaffolding got that much more precarious.
Then the next set of cross bars, the next platform, etc.... And by this time, at the end of each day, we were tired, hungry and filthy! At the beginning of this installation, fear would make us be very the end of it, we were old pros at this and would be giddy and giggly with exhaustion.
So slowly the scaffolding would come down...inch by inch....piece by piece....becoming more wiggly with each dismantling step!

Then the biggest humiliation of all - we had to drag this contraption across 4 lanes of traffic to the room where it "lived".
It reminded me of the beginning of the old "Monkees" tv show where the 4 of them are pushing a bed down a street....but I digress. By that time we were SO ready for the day to be over we would just laugh at how ridiculous we must look.

Here are the players in this mosaic installation:

Delaine Hackney: designer and principal'

Julie Alpers: mosaics and installation,

and me: mosaics and installation.