Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Cat In Tall Grass" Mosaic Sculpture

 Continuing my newfound interest in sculpting for mosaics 
is my latest one: "Cat In Tall Grass".

This guy is 32" tall. My initial vision was to mosaic him totally in purple glass. I love the effect of that particular color because it appears to be black until you get in into the right light. I think of it as a metaphor for so many things: you can't see it until you really look! I like much of my mosaics to be that way. You only really see them when you take time to linger and look. 

 As it turned out, I already had on hand a lot of green glass but only a little purple. So I rethought my design and decided that this guy would be hiding in the grass. He even has a bee buzzing around the back of his head!

I initially set out to create a pleasing shape that had 
popped into my head. I pretty much achieved it!

Here he is, in situ.

Cat In Tall Grass
December, 2010
Cement sculpture with glass and mirror mosaic
32" tall x 44" around x 16" wide

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Blessing of Jingletown's Virgin of Guadalupe Mosaic Mural

As you may know, the center mural on the Peterson Street Art Wall is a mosaic of the Virgin Of Guadalupe. She was created by me at the request of Cynthia Elliot, the "Mayor of Jingletown",  as a gift to the neighborhood and as a way to stop the gang graffiti on the wall.
  December 12 is traditionally the Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day.  To mark the occasion, Jingletown's own Victoria Slind-Flor and her witch's coven, the Coven of the Sacred Feminine, held a blessing of this mural. The day began with a procession:

The Lady is viewed by many as the patroness of North America and the incarnation of Tonatzin, Aztec Goddess.
This is Victoria Slind-Flor: 
First, the artists were recognized and all the art 
honored as sacred work.
That is me in the middle with Bill Silveira and Saundra Warren.

The first offering was "fire". Incense was lit, passed around, 
then laid at the Lady's feet.

Next, "water" was offered. Each glass came from a different area of the country: the Colorado, Mississippi, Willamette, Potomac, the Oakland Estuary and the Great Lakes.
Cynthia poured the water onto the new rose bushes, which are an essential part of the Lady's lore. Neighbors are being enlisted to water and tend these bushes.

Next was the offering of flowers. Every person took a red flower from a basket and laid it at Her feet.  It was obvious that many of us were saying our private prayers also.

Many flowers were laid.
At the end, a young couple from the neighborhood, who had stood by watching quietly, approached the mural, knelt and prayed. We gave them their privacy and left them to their prayers.

We went back to Victoria's loft for a feast of 
Christmas cookies and cider.
 We all agreed it was a very sweet and unique celebration. 
All photos by Merri Besden

Peterson Street Art Wall and Garden in Jingletown

Last April, the good folks of Jingletown broke ground on a long-planned project: the Peterson Street Art Wall and Garden. I've written about this project in past posts. The wall is long and empty and the "garden" was a messy dog walking area about 10' wide.

The ground was leveled, railroad ties created a "curb",  cardboard was laid to keep weeds at bay, mulch was spread, etc. As usual, the neighborhood showed up in large numbers with each person doing their share. Then the artists started adding their murals.

 By September the artists had been working feverishly and by November it was time to add a walking path and landscaping to the garden area. The center panel of the wall is a mosaic mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe (created by me). She has become a place where people are leaving flowers, candles and other offerings.  So a special area was 
created with railroad ties, gravel, pavers and 
rose bushes in front of her. 

Here is some of the art so far:

 Bill Silveira's Oakland Riviera spray paint graffiti. (Love the "bricks"!)

Carlos Jahen is painting this mural of all the dogs in Jingletown. 
This 'hood is a dog-loving place! Carlos also is the architect of the garden path and landscaping.

 This is my friend Saundra Warren, tile maker and mosaic artist. The "leaves" of this mosaic tree were made by Jingletown residents in her studio. They all have people's names or their pets' names or whatever struck their fancy! 

Then Saundra and I started the mosaic itself. It's still in progress, as much of this project is. 
But it's turning out beautifully so far:

Here is Russ Osterweil, photographer extraordinare. His mural consists of 9 of his photographs printed on ceramic tiles. The surrounding area, painted gray for now, will have some type of "word art" but he is still pondering this next step. Stay tuned!

This is a painting by Jill McLennan. 

Darwin Price, a religious scholar, gives us the Elephant God, Ganesh.

There is more to come. I am waiting for the names of the artists. Stay tuned!

Jingletown Holiday Art Walk 2010

Jingletown just held it's 5th Annual Holiday Art Walk. 
As usual it happened on the first weekend in December. 

 I always show at the 4:20 Gallery, 420 Peterson Street - one half block from the famous Peterson Street Art Garden.  Above is my work, pre-crowds.

This year we had over 300 visitors come through our doors to enjoy everything from jewelry to photography to mosaics. 
Lots of sales and fun conversations were had by all. 
We're starting to think that Jingletown, 
as an art destination, is on the map!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mosaic Rooster Sculpture

I have spent the past few months learning to create cement sculptures for mosaics.
This rooster is my masterpiece so far!

He has movement and personality. Instilling those qualities into a
cement piece isnt easy. 

But diligence and practice makes perfect. Or sort of perfect.
The basic armature of all my 3D shapes has been 

styrofoam from Home Depot.
For this guy, I cut out basic shapes - for both depth 

and width - and taped them into place. The next step was to cover this 
with fiberglass mesh dredged through a slurry of cement and water. 
 The piece started to come into focus at that stage.

But the final perfecting was done with cement and Darjit. 
(Darjit is a "green" product
made of paper
that makes the cement more maleable.)
For the mosaic finishing phase I used what I had in my 
studio - glass and mirror and some marbles. Pretty simple tessarae. 
But there are many tricks to be learned about how to mosaic 
a 3D object. If you arent careful, there can be many 
dangerous "points" sticking out.

26" tall x 21" long x 12" deep
November 2010

I rely on ideas popping into my head, seeing visions and
being struck by inspiration to lead me to my next project.
Roosters jumped into my awareness recently
the way frogs entered it a few years ago.
So I am following this artistic thread.
Below is a site about the symbolic meaning of roosters and other animals.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Latest Mosaic Art Fall 2010

I took the summer of 2010 off (mostly) to travel to the Southwest,
paint the kitchen, etc. But here, and in the next two posts, I show
you some things I've been working on.

I love the Southwest, especially the earthy art. The first time I traveled there in 1988 I came home with a (sort of nasty) large steer skull. I've had it ever since and had thought of decorating it. But its natural, aged and weathered condition is too beautiful to mess with. So I made a large steer skull mosaic instead. This sold at Jingletown's Holiday Art Walk last year.

Steer Skull '09
Glass mosaic on Easyboard
37" x 25"

A few weeks ago, I was commissioned to create another one to be hung in a home in Arizona. Here it is:Steer Skull '10
Glass mosaic on Easyboard
37" x 25"

I am taking part in an online auction of mosaic art to benefit Doctors Without Borders. The art will be online starting at the end of November and the auction will take place in April 2011. Read more about it here:
Lin Schorr and DWB Auction
This is my entry:

Glass mosaic on wood
10" x 10"

And finally, this is my "alternate entry" for the auction. I had second thoughts about "Rooster" after I had finished him. I know millions of people collect rooster art so I wanted to tap into that market. But a simple farm animal? I didnt know if that would be "sophisticated" enough. So I made this nude.
Glass mosaic on wood
10" x 10"

In the end I chose to submit the rooster and give the nude to a friend who I know would love it.

3D Mosaics

A few weeks ago I ventured into trying my hand at 3D cement sculpture. My intent was to create sculptures as substrates for a mosaic. In the photo above are a couple of large mushrooms and a cat
I made as my first 3D attempts.

The cat measures 16" wide x 31" tall.
The armature for these is styrofoam (insulation from Home Depot. $19 for a huge sheet) cut and glued/taped into a rudimentary shape.
The next step is just like papier mache only using a slurry of cement (instead of flour) and water. Fiberglass mesh, cut into strips, is dredged through the slurry and wrapped around the styrofoam armature until a close rendition of the final shape is achieved. Once that is dry (24 hours or so) a layer of concrete creates the smooth "skin" of the piece.
I learned in this process that fine sand, rather than coarse,
is the way to go when mixing the concrete!

In the pictures you will also see mosaics on rebar that I am calling "popsicles" for lack of a better word. I describe them in more detail in the following post.

Green Mushroom
Cement and tile
15" wide x 19" tall
Fall 2010

Blue Mushroom
Cement and tile
15" wide x 27" tall
Fall 2010

Green Mushroom in situ
Butterfly popsicle

Blue Mushroom in situ
Sunflower and Saint popsicles

More substrates waiting!

Latest Work Aug/Oct '10

Hello again! As you can tell by the date of my last post, I havent written much lately. I have been working on new - for me - ideas.
First, I took the summer off to take a driving trip around the Southwest.
I love it there and we just meandered around,
camping and being off the grid - sort of.

But by the end of the summer I really wanted to get back to work.
I get really depressed if I dont have projects.

I love 3D mosaics, especially large sculptures. So I tried my hand at what I am calling "popsicles." They are shapes cut out of styrofoam, skewered on a 1/2" rebar, covered with fiberglass mesh and cement slurry, then finished with concrete. Then I used these as
substrates for mosaics. Some have the same mosaic
pattern on both sides, some are different on both sides.

These are my first attempts and are extremely imperfect.
But I am definitely on a path toward 3D mosaics and I love that!
Its a steep learning curve though.

Butterfly (popsicle)
18" wide x 16" tall x 3" deep
Stands 35" approx.
Fall 2010

Fish, side 1 (popsicle)
24" wide x 16" tall x 3" deep
Stands 28" approx.
Fall 2010

Fish, side 2 (popsicle)
24" wide x 16" tall x 3" deep
Stands 28" approx.
Fall 2010

Frog, side 1 (popsicle)
21" wide x 36" tall x 3" deep
Stands 51" approx.
Fall 2010

Frog, side 2 (popsicle)
21" wide x 36" tall x 3" deep
Stands 51" approx.
Fall 2010

Sunflower (popsicle)
20" wide x 27" tall x 4" deep
Stands 37" approx.
Fall 2010