Category Archives: mosaic

Intro to Mosiacs – here we go…

In addition to being a gorgeous mosaic with which to kick off my Mosaics Series, this also seems a particularly fitting image for this Monday morning news cycle (Bin Laden is Dead)… Call me naive (or idealistic) but it’s hard to stomach people cheering over killing (even if the person killed was a really bad guy).

peaceful streets, guns into art, peace dove with broken gun, peace dove mosaic

I spotted this piece on the front of St. Elizabeth’s Church, which dates back to the late 1800’s, in the Fruitvale district of Oakland. It caught my eye both for its traditional mosaic technique (small shapes of colored glass arranged to portray something pictorial) and also for its more contemporary aspect (the inclusion of a real handgun, broken into pieces).

The piece was produced by the group Guns Into Art, based in San Francisco. In addition to working with local communities on violence prevention through youth classes and community events, often near the site of a gun-related death, the group actually encourages residents to turn in their guns to be fashioned into art, “transforming the negative power of violence into a positive, lasting memory.”

The gun included in the mosaic above is a 9mm Berreta pistol (the same pistol used by the U.S. Military, according to Guns Into Art). The mosaic is part of a series of gun related art at St. Elizabeth’s, coordinated by local resident Miguel Angel Sandoval who became involved with the Guns Into Art program after a friend was killed in a drive by shooting.

Much much more about mosaics coming in the next several posts… with lots of stunning Oaktown examples.  Please stay tuned.

Mosaic Madness – LA Style

I’ve been mesmerized by mosaics for the last few weeks… I see them everywhere I go, as though they’re just taunting me to write about them.  So next week will be devoted to an exploration of mosaics, and to kick things off, check out this house I saw on my recent trip to LA…

mosaic house in santa monica, house covered in mosaicsSanta Monica Mosaic Housemosaic tiles stairs, mosaic exterior wallmosaic tiles, hollywood signtree mosaic, apple tree mosaicparrot mosaic, narwhal mosaic

New ArtWalk in Jingletown…

On my way to the White Elephant Sale Sunday morning, I passed a place I’d been before… I recognized the corner, and yet it looked strikingly different. What before had been a bleak stretch of blank concrete, bordered by litter and feces strewn dead grass & weeds, had now become a lovely meandering ArtWalk.

Here are a handful of the artworks that span the block of Peterson Street between Ford and Chapman, just two blocks from the Oakland Museum’s White Elephant Warehouse, and equally close to the Institute of Mosaic Arts, which I wrote about when I first launched this blog in 2009 (IMA).

jingletown murals, peterson street artwalk

Ganesh Mural by Darwin Price

mosaic institute mural, oakland tree mural, hand painted tile mural

Tree Mosaic by Kim Larson & Saundra Warren

hand crafted tiles, hand painted tiles, jingletown mosaic

Handmade tiles in Saundra Warren's studio by Jingletown residents

I’m assuming the Mosaic Institute was instrumental in the production of these mosaic pieces. Wrong.  This is why we should not assume.  Duh.  Thanks to Kim and Jill for setting me straight…

This entire project was organized by the Jingletown Arts and Biz Community, JABC, namely Jill McLennan and Cynthia Elliot, and sponsored by Pro Arts and the City of Oakland. The various artworks were created by a host of artists from the community, independent of IMA.

The tree mosaic above was created by Kim Larson and Saundra Warren (of In Saundra’s Garden…) I love the hand crafted tiles incorporated.

jingletown murals, oakland murals, alameda waterfront mural

Oakland Riviera by Bill Silveira

Peterson Street Mosaics, Jingletown Oakland, Jingletown Art Walk

Virgin of Guadalupe by Kim Larson

jingletown murals, jill mclennan

Jingletown by Jill McLennan

man's best friend, oakland murals, jingle town mural, mural of dogs

A Loving Tribute to Our Best Friends and Companions by Carlos Jahen

Seeing these recent installations got me even more excited about the class I’ll be taking at the Institute next month (Mosaic 101). I plan to blog about the specifics here… please stay tuned.
Kim Larson is also responsible for the Virgin Of Guadalupe mosaic below.

vintage car mosaic, mosaic institute, jingletown murals, oakland murals

Auto Mosaic by Jen Rubenstein

Below you can see a hint of what this stretch used to look like… the photo features Lee Krasnow of Pacific Puzzle Works – I shot him in the summer of 2009 for a story in Oakland Magazine.  His workshop is located just across the street. You can see the wall was nearly completely blank, and we both had to be on guard to avoid the numerous piles of poo.

Now the adjacent strip incorporates a waving walking path through tidy mulched landscape and a gorgeous custom laser-cut iron sign requests that visitors kindly pick up after their pets.  I didn’t see one poop!Peterson Street Oakland, Lee Krasnow, Pacific Puzzle Works

ps – The White Elephant Sale was a huge success… volunteers said Saturday was their busiest day, EVER.  (Glad I went Sunday!) I bought 4 sweaters, 1 small bookcase, and a birdhouse that looks like someone’s abandoned woodshop project. I can’t wait to paint it and hang it in my yard…

pps – Friday Night’s Art Murmur was great and I’ll have more on this in the coming days…

ppss – Here’s one last mosaic that you see as you turn the corner onto Ford.  This one is much older as I shot it back in 2009 (but never posted it).

mosaic institute oakland, jingletown mosaic murals

Best of East Bay Party…

Did anyone go to the party last Friday night hosted at Jack London Square by the East Bay Express?

I did and was pretty blown away. More like a full-fledged festival, this “party” featured three stages of live music, tons of boutique vendors & demonstrations, community organization booths, an outdoor live graffiti showcase, a huge curated art show, and much much more.

I’ll be featuring a few different aspects of the event in my next few posts, including some killer footage of the Dance Battle at the DJ stage, but for now…

cheemah, mother of spirit-fire, eagle sculpture

Jack London Square is primed and almost-ready for what developers, business owners, and local residents hope will be a new era for this waterfront destination in Oakland. Decades after its initial development, and despite a slew of residential lofts added in the 90’s, the intersection of train, ferry, and bus transport, gorgeous views of the bay, and a few success stories (Yoshi’s), the area has never really “clicked” in the way folks had hoped.

But developers don’t give up easy. And though the rest of us are slogging through this sad economy, they still seem to have money to burn…

With the near completion of a $375 million dollar redevelopment project, Jack London Square has been re-envisioned as a dining and cuisine-oriented hot spot centered around the stunning six-story Jack London Market. Similar to San Francisco’s Ferry Building but larger, the ground-floor market will offer an array of fresh, wholesome, and locally sourced produce and food products, while the second floor will feature cafes, restaurants, and culinary shops.

The project began nearly a decade ago and has been slow to materialize, but we are now on the brink… The marketplace was slated to open this spring/summer but unfortunately has been postponed due to the aforementioned crappy economy, causing prospective tenants to have difficulty obtaining credit. The plan is to have 20 to 25 tenants on board before the market opens which is now slated for the end of the year (but may still be a moving target).

In the meantime, there are a number of new restaurants definitely worth checking out:

It was interesting to see how many people could be drawn to the area for a single night of East Bay fun and I have to give props to the East Bay ExpressThey threw a swell party. The place was packed… old and young, hip and straight. There was something for everyone and everyone was having a blast.  Gives you an idea of what you could see more consistently…

Here are some photos of the tiled Peace Wall outside what once was the Barnes & Noble (see The Demise of Oakland’s Barnes & Noble)…

tiled peace wall oakland, hand painted tiles

Jack London Square, peace wall, hand painted tiles

This is an international art project that was created in 1983 after the end of the Cold War. The installation at Jack London Square, Oakland is just one piece. Other walls have also been completed in Moscow, Detroit, Atlanta, and Nashville, with more being added all the time.

The walls, entitled “Our Work Place, A Peace Place” and “Our Family and Friends: A Reservoir of Peace” are a collection of tiles that were hand-painted by local employees, their families and friends, and volunteers.

tiles painted by children, hand painted tiles, oakland peace mural

barnes & noble, tile peace wall, peace wall mural of tiles

As I entered the concourse where vendors and community groups were set up, one of the first to catch my eye was the East Bay SPCA. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE kitties (and really all animals… I’ll catch spiders in my house and set them free outside rather than squishing them), and I just couldn’t walk past without getting a couple shots of these cuties.

The East Bay SPCA is a great organization dear to my heart and I adopted my two current kitties from them two summers ago. Best decision, ever.

Please check their site for animals available for adoption or to make a donation to a very worthy cause.

Ok, stepping down from soapbox now…

East Bay SPCA

Then I came upon the live graffiti demonstration called “If These Walls Could Talk…” Here is a shot from early on in the evening… You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see the finished product. And much more on the music, art, and dance that occupied me for hours, such that I never made it to Art Murmur…

If These Walls Could Talk...