Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ramon Pablo Vidali - Artist of the Castro

This is an ode to an unknown artist who painted history but who seems to be lost to history. I have Googled info about him from every angle and can only find these 3 examples of his work but I'm sure he painted hundreds of canvases. A little back story: I moved to SF in 1979 - young, gay and free at a time when SF was the mecca for people of all stripes wanting to be free. And the Castro district was the hub - the epicenter, the birthplace - of the nationwide gay movement. I would walk around those blocks all the time, to shop, eat, drink or just people-watch. And I would see this artist all the time. He would ALWAYS be out painting on the sidewalks. He would paint street scenes and neighborhood characters. I admit I didnt like his style - the paint was too thin, the bodies too elongated. HAH! Little did I know he was painting a "time" that would soon be gone. He died of AIDS in 1985. I didnt notice his passing and have only begun to wonder about his art lately. He documented an historic time! The Castro doesnt look like that anymore, even though I remember every storefront and scene he painted. San Francisco, sadly, isnt "calling" the young and free anymore - more like the young and aggressively capitalist (but I digress). This artist's name was Ramon Pablo Vidali. He sat on sidewalks and street corners to follow his muse and recorded history. Oh I wish, I wish, I wish I could find his art in a flea market or a Goodwill store. Better yet I wish I had bought just one of his pieces back then! More info here: http://thecastro.net/street/vidali.html And if anyone has any info on who this "Uncle Donald" person is, I would love to get in contact with him for more info.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Halloween Mosaic Skulls 2014

I love creating more than one of a piece so I can keep working right along until I can perfect them... or at least try to perfect them! These were this year's addition to my Halloween art. They hung out front along with past mosaics made for this time of year. They each are approx 12" tall, glass mosaics on substrates of 3D sculpted cement on Wediboard.

"Birds On A Wire" - 3D mosaic Sculpture

Another series of mosaics, this time based on what birds look like perched on telephone wires. Each bird is approx 12" tall or so and is a glass mosaic with a substrate of sculpted cement on Wediboard.

"14 Carrots" - 3D Mosaic Carrots

I really like to create a series of designs/mosaics so I can really get a train of thought going. These are, literally, 14 carrots. Each is hand made cement on Wedi substrate, sculpted to be 3D. Approx 16"-18" tall.

"13 Crows" - a Mosaic Bench for Jingletown

This art was for a strangely designed bench. It consisted of two end pieces made of cement and then a cement slab lays from one to the other, creating the seat. One end piece was a cube and the other was more rectangular. My job was to cover 3 of the 4 sides of each end piece. I thought about what a person would see on the ground and chose to design crows - my favorite bird! And the number 13 just goes so well with "Halloweenishness" of crows! I also designed this piece so that the crows are not obvious. This is meant to be difficult to see.. to reflect the way that humans barely look at their environment, therefore making everything "hard to see"!

Lemon Lime Orange Lime mosaic

Something I had wanted to do for a while were large versions of small slices of fruit. Out of that came this piece. Lemon Lime Orange Lime. Each is approx 16" wide. Made of glass mosaic on cement covered styrofoam. These pics show 3 different ways these can be hung. They are meant to be fun and tongue-in-cheek.

O'Neill - Crow Family Crest Mosaic

This was a fun - almost hilarious - project. Commissioned by siblings for a birthday present for one of them, I had to research the crests for O'Neill and Crow, then mix and mingle them into a design that could be accomplished in glass! Presenting the O'Neill-Crow Family Crest. 3D cement wall-hanging substrate for glass mosaic. 12" x 16".

Mosaic Sun & Moon for a Departed Mother

Mosaic sun and moon commissioned as a remembrance for a mother who had passed. She had sat and walked in this garden and so these pieces now hang in her memory. Both are glass mosaic on 3D handmade cement substrate. Sun is 2' in diameter, Moon is approx 2' from tip to tip.

Mosaic Trio of Egrets

Another commission for a birthday - this one for a bird lover. Again, these are 3D bas relief cement sculptures for mosaics. The tall bird is 30" tall. The "hunched" bird is 19" tall and the flying one is 18" long.

Mosaic Hippo

This mosaic is for a little boy's birthday. He loves purple hippos! This is a 3D cement sculpture with a flat back to hang on a wall and is approx 16" long.

Private Mosaic Mural Lesson for Anne Marie Price, SAMA Scholarship Recipient

In November 2014, I hosted Anne Marie Price for a two day intensive on mosaic mural making techniques. Anne Marie had won the Society of American Mosaic Artist's scholarship and chose to use a part of it to have me teach her the basics. I was thrilled! Anne Marie proved to be a fun person with a lot of innate artistic skills! She was here for three days during which we did a tour of local mosaic murals and shopped for and learned about new mosaic materials. Before she came, I had given AM some homework: she was to bring two mosaic flowers on mesh to be installed on a cement garden wall. While here, she learned to clean and evaluate a wall, do a skim coat of cement or Thinset to even out the wall's imperfections, use Thinset (and Bonder - my technique) to adhere the art to the wall, and also make an impromptu tile mosaic for the wall. We also discussed the several ways to create mural art and transfer it to a wall. Anne Marie learned about proper body mechanics for using materials, power tools and during installation. The actual pieces added to the wall were small but the education was huge!