Category Archive: Expressing Oneself in Mosaics

posts of artists who have answered the question, “Why do I express myself in mosaic?”

Expressing… Carole Choucair Oueijan

I grew up walking on and touching 3000-year-old mosaic floors and murals. I never thought that one day I’d be working with tiny tesserae and these reflections from my childhood to create contemporary mosaic art.

Carole Choucair Oueijan

Juror’s Choice, Mosaic Arts International 2008, "Orchis Morio Libanai M1"

Mosaic fine art was not as well known 19 years ago (when I started mosaics) as it is now. Today it is blooming, and it’s a wonderful feeling to see it around us more often.

When I paint I have an idea in mind and try to translate it onto paper or canvas with my colors. But when I try to work with tesserae I become a young child who’s trying to assemble all these shapes and colors to create something exciting. 

You are supposed to stand away from a painting to get the whole picture and capture the feeling that the artist put into his work. It’s the opposite in mosaic. You are drawn closer and sometimes even tempted to try and touch what you see. You stare, admire, and discover over and over again. Mosaic takes your eyes and emotions on an artistic journey. The endless materials and creativity used in contemporary mosaic makes it the richest medium ever.

—Carole Choucair Oueijan

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Expressing… Shug Jones

Shug Jones

Best Large-Scale Exterior Mosaic, Mosaic Arts International 2007, "Tracks of Our Past and Future"

I have worked in many media over the years—graphite, ink, colored pencil, oil, watercolor, and even scratchboard. They all have their place in my repertoire of art supplies.  Today, however, I choose to use tactile materials, such as glass, stone, porcelain, and beads to make my art.   

It is the textures and the colors that draw me in—the need to create something that moves, converses with, and surprises the viewer. I love the challenge of combining the colored tesserae in such a way as to create a color entirely different, the process of gluing thousands of tiny pieces of glass to a surface that when viewed from a distance becomes a realistic image. 

Mosaic has broadened my view of what art is.  It has given me the desire to go beyond the two-dimensional surface and seek the third dimension. It has opened my eyes to possibilities that I never knew existed and abilities I never knew were there inside me.   

—Shug Jones

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Expressing… Gary Drostle

Gary Drostle

Best Architectural Mosaic, Mosaic Arts International 2008, "The DeLuci Fish Sculpture"

Mosaic is a medium that never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think I have the measure of it or it can’t possibly hold any more, some amazing new facet reveals itself.

I don’t think there is another medium like it. From that simple cube, generating pattern which is open and accessible to anyone, young or old, no matter how limited their artistic ability, mosaic seems to open its heart to all. There is definitely something very primeval in a human’s ability and need to seek out pattern in our lives, and mosaic is a great way to feed that need.

I also find great satisfaction in the combination of artistic and aesthetic endeavour, together with the sheer physical force of mosaic making—the breaking of tesserae, mixing cement, and pushing the pieces in. Mosaic has a truth and balance built into its existence: the balance of design and labour, and a truth in the direct way that the tesserae reveal that labour in all its myriad forms.

As one fellow mosaic artist whispered to me recently… mosaic is magic!

—Gary Drostle

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Expressing… Warner Hunter

Sherri Warner Hunter

Best Three-Dimensional Mosaic, Mosaic Arts International 2009, "Swimming Tiger Bench"

“Why do I express myself in mosaic?” The short answer is surface quality.

I came to mosaic as mixed media sculptor. I wanted to add color to the surface of objects but was uninterested in the application of paint. I work in mixed media sculpture to invite a tactile experience, and the materials I use for mosaic have added to my repertoire of surface qualities.

As my pieces grew in size, so did my interest in creating large-scale exterior artworks. The mosaic work, in combination with my carved concrete forms, became the perfect vehicle for ideas I wanted to propose for public art projects.

Drawing has also been essential in my artistic development. As my skills with mosaic improved, I found that I was able to draw and design more complex images to mosaic. While for some artworks mosaic is still used as a surface enhancement, for my narrative works it is my medium of choice to develop images. I often say that these mosaic works are paintings made with chunks of colors.

—Sherri Warner Hunter

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Expressing… Brooks Tower

Brooks Tower

Best in Show, Mosaic Arts International 2007, "Market Day II"

I mosaic because I can’t fly. I mosaic to keep my head down. I mosaic because of a promise I made. I mosaic to keep in tune. I mosaic to keep in time. I mosaic in order to not mosaic. I mosaic to please the stone. I mosaic because sometimes I lie awake in the middle of the night, and sometimes the windows are open in our bedroom, and I hear the geese calling to each other as they fly over.

I mosaic because of that old woman with the piercing eyes who walks down our street with her stroller, on her way for groceries, and who said to me the other day, while I was picking up bits of a broken beer bottle in the street, “Lot more trash in the neighborhood these days.” And I said, “Yes, yes, there is.” And she said, “Beautiful day, though.” And I said, “Yes, it is.” And the wind was blowing, and she shuffled on, and I still had work to do. 

—Brooks Tower

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