|Dog Mosaic by Pamela Irving|
I will try to fill you in on the rest of Sama today. Pamela Irving was the keynote speaker at the conference and she was very inspiring. I really enjoyed the slides she presented from her project for Luna Park. Miss Irving has a fun sense of humor that comes through in all of her work.
We watched a great movie about African artist El Anatsui. Anatsui takes the caps from liquor bottles and weaves the most amazing tapestries that cover entire buildings. It was refreshing to see someone included in the conference that is not working with traditional mosaic techniques and materials.
Karen Ami, gave some great gallery talks, exploring the mosaics in the MAI Exhibition. She encouraged people to talk openly about the works they liked and did not like. I really enjoyed hearing people's views on certain works.
I have found the general mosaic community to be a mixed group of people that includes both part time hobbyists and hard core professionals. People in both camps seem to have very rigid and clear ideas in their heads about what is and isn't "Mosaic". I have always felt like an outsider in this world, doing my art, using mosaic techniques loosely to serve my needs without getting too bogged down with the rules. I was eager to hear the last panel discussion titled : Defining Mosaic Art- Who Cares, and Why. The speakers were great but the discussion was a little bit of a let down as I was still left wondering just what is Mosaic Art and why should I care. I know I will never be able to embrace some of the narrow views about mosaic that many of my peers hold fast to. I did come away with one bit of advice from Emma Biggs that I believe resonates and that is that we should not let our medium define us. I heard an eagerness by the people on the panel for mosaic art to be more widely embraced by the broader art world. In my opinion the only way that is going to happen is for the subject to be introduced at the college level. I think you really need young people experimenting with the medium. You need kids without the budgets for Smalti and $50 geodes picking up all types of readily available materials for mosaic work. The medium needs the head strong attitudes that youth provides. If technique and history is important to your craft then teach it to young artists and then challenge them to take what they learn and then go break some rules as they see fit.