“Goldfish” Contemporary Mosaic Art
Underwater scenes are among the most popular themes of traditional Greek mosaic. Usually the scenes are of multiple figures such as dolphins, octopi, crabs and fish arranged in a broad panorama. The idea, I suppose, was to give the viewer the impression of actually being underwater in and amongst all the aquatic life. Of course, I wasn’t thinking of any of that when I made this, at least not consciously, but as a boy I always kept jars of minnows and tadpoles and such.
I did have several things in mind when I made this, mostly how to use materials that seem to be used extensively in mosaics but not in figurative images. The two materials in question are glass gems and iridescent glass tile from Murano, Italy. Glass gems are generally regarded as cheap craft items, while the tile from Murano is -as the name implies- some of the more expensive glass tile made. Thus, you wouldn’t expect to see these two materials in the same piece. A third aspect of the mosaic was also an experiment, and that was to have tight tile spacing in the scales of the fish in contrast to the loose spacing of the round glass gems that compose the background. This difference in tile spacing works with the contrast between the iridescent and less glossy elements. The iridescent fish seems to leap out of the more dull mat background in a way that isn’t captured by the photograph.
Although this mosaic was made as an exercise for the supply business to show what the materials are capable of when used in a novel way, it seems to get many compliments.