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Carl B Johnson

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Coming soon - Inside Scoop on Mosaic Installations
Tuesday, November 17, 2009  2:31:00 PM

by Carl B Johnson

I am currently working on a book about mosaic murals and architectural installations. based on years of actual experience creating and installing large-scale public mosaic murals, learn from my mistakes and profit from my experience.

Modern Mosaics

When artist Liz Nicklus took a hiatus from painting and concentrated her energies on fine art mosaics, she had little idea the direction this was going to take her art. That was almost a decade ago – her solo show at High Street Design Gallery in Millville, dozens of vases, mirrors and pots of Pique Assiette mosaics in the gallery.

It didn’t take her long to go bigger. After partaking of a workshop with the famed Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, Liz began working with under-privileged kids in hometown of Millville creating large-scale public displays in the style of Zagar.

These temporary works soon became permanent fixtures in the local arts district plaza. Liz quickly began to develop her own unique style that she soon incorporated into her mixed media art, and began contemplating architectural installations.

I am Carl B. Johnson, an abstract expressionist painter, specializing in the changing faces and disappearing places of my south Jersey home. I have delved into abstraction after being bored with objective painting, and I play around with found-object sculpture. I had kept a distance from Liz’s mosaics, careful not to step on her creative toes. We each maintain our separate studios, and while we will gladly steal good ideas from each other, we strive to maintain a certain artistic integrity in our styles.

Together, Liz and I comprise Independent Artist Studios, specializing in architectural installations. It’s been a process, and we made some mistakes along the way.  In this book I will share our experiences, provide some hopefully helpful advice for your own projects – or do my best to possibly scare you away from trying.

The History of Mosaic

I am not an historian, and do not plan on writing anything extensive about the real history of mosaic. The earliest known mosaics date back roughly to 3000 BC. Materials consisted of stones set in basic geometric patterns. I guess it could be argued that these mosaic patterns were the beginning of abstract art.

It wasn’t until millennia later, around 1500 BC that mosaic patterns were incorporated using various materials such as colored stones and shells. About this time glazed tiles were also utilized. By this time, the mosaic became more intricate, creating scenes.

The Romans, going back to the fourth century BC raised mosaic to a fine art form. Classical mosaic introduced intricate patterns into recognizable scenes. The cathedrals of Europe today still boast the exquisite craftsmanship of classical mosaic. Byzantine mosaics were primarily iconic, depicting saints.

Early Islamic mosaics incorporated Byzantine themes, but did not have representations of people or human figures.

In this book we are going to deal with only a very narrowly defined form of modern mosaics. Liz and I specialize in architectural installations. We borrow slightly from classical forms and style, but use modern materials and design.

Independent Artist Studios

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