21 January 2009

Lake Park Fountain Art Project

I have been chosen as one of three finalists for the Lake Park Fountain - Artist Competition. For a few days next week people will be able to vote online for an artist.

Here is the proposal I sent to the committee in December, followed by a sketch of the proposed piece...

I wish to submit a proposal for the Lake Park Fountain project. I have attached the Design Submission Form with this letter of intent.

Mosaics are an art form that can last for hundreds or thousands of years. There are very fine examples of mosaics that are over two thousand years old. The most ancient mosaic artists used marble and stones from the earth. Medieval and Renaissance mosaicists used stones, marble, glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles, precious metals and poured and sliced slabs of glass – smalti – to construct their work. Contemporary mosaic artists use all of the above plus stained and other specialty glass, along with bits of broken pottery, found object and other mixed media materials.

The design I am proposing consists of a mosaic paved area around the fountain, measuring approximately 20 – 25 square feet, set into the ground so as to be level with the current concrete base of the fountain. The paved area would be irregularly shaped so as to be organic in form (like a lake or river), respect the nature of the park and disturb the roots of the nearby tree as little as possible. The actual shape would be guided by the findings when the digging is begun. The project would also include a sculptural base that would cover the current fountain supports and water pipes. This sculptural surround would be made from papercrete, and cast in two sections so that it could be opened to access the water line and drain for any future servicing. In addition, a discussion with the park service team would have to occur before any digging could begin so as not to damage or disrupt the waterline feeding the fountain. This and the need to be guided by the needs of the nearby tree make it impossible to present you with a totally illustrated concept in this proposal and is the reason I am including this narrative with my submission.

The construction would include excavating a 10” deep area, leveling it, laying in 6” of gravel, framing up and pouring a 4” thick concrete slab, covering the slab with a concrete binder, and adding a mortar bed for the tesserae (mosaic tiles) to rest upon. Due to the relatively small size of the project I believe this would mostly be done by hand, however I would make all possible efforts to hire local people/businesses for any outsourced labor.

The mosaic tesserae (tiles) would cover the new poured pavement and the current paved area around the fountain. I am proposing a mosaic that represents water, water in a river or lake, water that is full of living things – fish, frogs, water lilies, reptiles, flowers, reeds, birds. These creatures would be playful and unique – rather than realistically represented – but tastefully rendered.

The sculptural surround for the fountain would not rise above the fountain’s current bowl, so as conform to any ADA regulations (assuming the current fountain’s design falls within those guidelines). The mosaic work on this part of the project would continue the idea that our water is for all living creatures, depicting cattails and reeds and the birds that live therein. Papercrete is a very durable substance used in residential and commercial construction which can be shaped freeform.

Our Drinking Fountains, Our Water - Design Submission

December 12, 2008

Description of design, materials, and experience with materials:

Mosaic paved slab surrounding the fountain with a mosaic papercrete sculptural base for fountain.

A variety of vitreous glass tiles, sea glass tiles, ceramic and porcelain mosaic tiles, gravel for substrate, concrete and concrete binder for pavement, thinset mortar for tile bed, paper pulp and cement for sculptural base for fountain.

It has been nearly 20 years since I first worked with mosaics. In the meanwhile I have done a good amount sculptural work. This past fall I resumed working with mosaics and decided to offer up this proposal for your consideration. I have included a few images of my recent mosaic work as well as an image of some sculptural work I have done. I do not have very many photographs to offer because I have not been all that concerned about taking photos of my work and most of my mosaic work was years ago. I have provided three photographs showing recent mosaic work – two 2-D pieces and some small 3-D pieces. I do have a website that contains more images of my work – www.854w5th.com.

Images of work in the medium:

Sketch of proposed work:

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