Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mosaic Inspiration

An enthusiastic collection of artists and stone aficionados gathered to learn more about the famous water colour artist Millard Sheets last Wednesday at the well organized kick-off lecture presentation at the Scottish Rite Temple in San Francisco. This was part of the 2015 Stone Symposium being held in the city and also in Gualala California over the next week and a half.  

Millard is also known for his beautifully designed mosaics, many of them art installations incorporated into the facades and interiors of public buildings throughout California and the US. Though not specifically stone related his work inspired me to think about the design process and the similarities between dry stone and mosaic patterns.

Tony Sheets his son (an artist himself) , and Professor Adam Arenson spoke passionately about how many of Millard’s mosaic pieces were now needing to to be preserved, as buildings were being torn down or renovated.

One photo showed the barely discernible evidence of what once was a beautiful mosaic of Millard’s installed above the International City Bank building in Long Beach. It had all been inadvertently plastered over. Plans were being discussed to restore it.

A closeup of the pattern showing through the layer of plaster covering this wall mosaic still revealed the decorative but more simplified network of minute cellular shapes that made up the original mosaic. It made me wonder about incorporating a similar pattern in some sort of dry laid stone application.

There is a kind of universal resourcefulness in nature, an aesthetic connectivity in the arts too perhaps, that often allows the work of an artist in one medium, (even in a case where it has almost been lost forever) to become the inspiration for another artist, and like a phoenix reemerge later in another medium 

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