Thursday, March 18, 2010

Virgin of Guadalupe Mosaic Mural Installation

I absolutely love creating mosaic murals and installing them.
It's hard work and totally worth it!
The Jingletown neighborhood in Oakland California has
a new mosaic mural! I am in the process of completing my latest mosaic, the Virgin of Guadalupe. She is 7' x 4' on a wall space that is approximately 10' x 10' and is made of ceramic tile, glass and mirror.
This mural is the first piece in a larger art project:
the Peterson Street Art Wall & Garden.

Jingletown is a neighborhood in Oakland that is dealing with gang violence and graffiti.
It is also one of the fastest growing arts neighborhoods in the Bay Area
with many artists studios and live/work lofts.

There is a very long wall on Peterson Street, down from the 4:20 Gallery, that is a tempting space for defacement by the neighborhood gangs and their rivals. But the artists in the 'hood came up with a graffiti-abatement plan that will also beautify and
uplift the area: let the neighborhood artists install art on the wall.
This is about one half of the wall looking west.



The wall is naturally broken into 20 panels of about 10' x 10' each. Any Jingletown artist can submit an idea and then carry it out themselves.

The first image was to be the Virgin of Guadalupe because of the Latino heritage and influence in Jingletown. It is hoped this image - because of her power as a religious and cultural icon - will slow the tide of gang violence and the graffiti problems.

The first step, as always, was to transfer the image onto the wall by taping up the paper pattern and outlining it with chalk or a marker. Since this is an oval shape with a definite center line, it had to be placed perfectly or it would have been noticeably "off".

Then the fun begins.

The pieces are fit together one after another like a jigsaw puzzle and held in place with tape until the Thinset has hardened somewhat.

This process of "building" the mosaic took two of us 4 hours to complete.

The next day we taped around it in preparation for grouting.
This was one of the easiest tape jobs I have done on my work since it is basically an oval shape!
The grouting took two of us another 4 hours to complete.
Here I am with the mural after the grouting was complete.

The next day I painted the section of wall around the mural.

One of the most wonderful things about installing a mosaic is how people will stop by on their walks or in their cars and comment, give a thumbs up, ask questions or just to watch for a while. I find mosaic work to be very solitary so it really feels great to get good feedback and supportive attention from the public.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is often associated with the constellation Virgo so the next step will be to add mosaic stars around her to give it a more finished look.

Some close-ups:

The lore of the Virgin of Guadalupe is very interesting. Learn more HERE.

I have to thank my good friend and excellent assistant Saundra Warren for helping me again. Saundra is also a mosaic artist and a tile maker. Take a look at her website In Saundra's Garden.

The Virgin Of Guadalupe (in progress)
Peterson Street between Ford and Chapman
Jingletown, Oakland, CA
March 2010
Ceramic tile, glass and mirror
7' x 4' on a 10' x 10' section of wall

Please read more about the Peterson Street Art Garden in the San Francisco Examiner.


saveabunny said...

Gorgeous work, Kim. You should be very proud!

Stacy Alexander said...

Yo! Kim! I'm ready for an update, already!

Love the Virgin. Love it.

Lynleyc said...

Absolutely beautiful!!