Part of being an artist is creating challenges for oneself that must be resolved. We can continue to make the same works over and over, which is lucrative, especially if the work sells, but at a certain point I think we all become bored with what we've done before and need new energy and ideas to infuse the work.
Creating custom-designed works for my clients is part of what keeps my art fresh and exciting, certainly for me, and hopefully for my viewer. Recently, I had the opportunity to create a mosaic frame for a very large mirror at the end of a hall housing a gallery of the owners' artworks. It was a unique opportunity to create a piece that would capture the playful conversation of the paintings hanging there, as well as incorporating some of the the client's history and interests. Using a few found objects, rocks from sacred mountains, Woodstock and Earth Day pins, as well as references to the couple's family, I set out to create a piece that would interact with the art collection, and be a striking focal point in the rather monumental space. Here is a gallery of photos for you to enjoy; many of details have stories behind them, found in the photo descriptions.
What challenged me about this project was the scale. At about 8 feet in height, the massive size, and its prominence among the art in the owners' collection, demanded a very bold and graphic design. The mirror being recessed made the piece three dimensional, a fun challenge that I resolved by simply bending the design into the recess. I was surprised by the effects of the mirror on the mosaic; the way the mosaic "peeled away" from the mirror, appearing to reveal it.
What perhaps surprised me the most was discovering a shared interest in the ocean with the client. Now living in the desert after a lifetime close to the sea, the client needed a sense of the watery depths of the ocean in her home. I could not have been more thrilled to create an oasis in her home through this piece. While creating the mosaic, I spent a great deal of time recalling my own personal Pilgrimage to the Sea fifteen years ago. I aimed to create a piece using the clients' own found and collected objects that would feel timeless and playful, inspiring storytelling and collecting memories for the owners, their family, and friends. I realized how blessed I am for having this very special and personal opportunity to share my art and work with others in a very intimate way.
Then a client asked me to create a window using a Charles Rennie Mackintosh design as the inspiration for the piece. This work was also very graphic and rather geometric in orientation. But instead of feeling restricted by the client's desire to have a Mackintosh design as the basis for the piece. What resulted was a fun exploration of his design and the inspiration of a sort of "sacred geometry". As I worked the design in glass mosaic, I was surprised to discover what I feel to be an inspiration of the sacred mother or Virgin Mary. The "pregnancy" of the design, the "flowering", and the haloing effect of what appears to me a madonna in profile, all spoke to my own spiritual discovery of the divine feminine. Hence, it was a real treat to be guided by a master like Mackintosh in allowing sacred inspirations to flow and influence the design.
It's equally important to keep our studio artwork new and exciting. Now, in the studio, I'm playing with a variety of new ideas and applications. I'm creating some new accent lighting pieces utilizing old glass jars, as well as a series of new "Mosaic Light Paintings" that are influenced by a variety of artists and interests. I was inspired by the peacock in a recent window I created, to create peacock feathers in one of my lamps. In creating the rose for the Mackintosh piece, I was inspired to create a piece based on one of his roses designs. I've created images that are references to my own "Pilgrimage to the Sea" fifteen years ago. I've interpreted works by Cezanne, Monet, and Vuillard.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, please stop by and see these and other new works at my
Pop Up Art Gallery
GARAGE at 578 Waller Street/Pierce
San Francisco, CA
12 pm to 7 pm