Saturday, February 9, 2013

GUEST POST: Celebrities and mosaic art (some considerations)

By Eric
Blog: Bored Neoclassical Guy

Site: www.oldmosaics.com


I was recently considering the trend in mosaic art to render celebrities. A celebrity work is great because it instantly communicates to the viewer that the work is either a good likeness, or not.  Everyone becomes a member of that special club that recognizes the art for what it is. One cannot get that kind of result with a mosaic depicting fuzzy clouds, or strange abstract geological features.

Of course, 'celebrity work' doesn't mean that the celebrity creates the art. Maybe they would be worth more if the mosaic was a celebrity self-portrait?
 
I began to list out the mosaics of celebrities that came to mind. Popular works, like the portrait of Amy Winehouse by Jason Mecier, used pills for tesserae. 


 

This choice of pills for tesserae really drives home one of the causes of the demise of the celebrity, which was very clever to tie those things together.

Let me Ctrl-Break it down for you… The Australian artist WBK (Guy Whitbey) uses images of keyboard keys to render famous people.  He uses photo images of old keyboard keys to do the mosaic, very clever! As the old expression goes, a million monkeys typing for a million years would still not come up with works like this. Maybe this is because a monkey would be interested in eating the keyboards?


Ed Chapman in the UK has created many nice mosaics of celebrities with recycled items. The subjects he has chosen to represent happen to be celebrities that have also thrown things away, logical connection right? Doesn’t the result remind you of fractured egg shells, like one might find in the trash? 


Below, the gifted artist Vojna Bastovanovic seems to have perfectly recreated one of the celebrity film stars of ‘101 Dalmations’. I recently phoned Pongo the dog about this wonderful portrait work.  While the star and his agent didn’t comment specifically on the art, the happy barking indicated a general sense of approval.
      

I have also tried the celebrity mosaic to a lesser degree with my creation of a Scarlett Johansen mosaic.  I used mostly rocks on the mosaic. While I'm not entirely sure, I would imagine that Scarlett has touched rocks at some point in her life. Was it clever to tie those things together?

 

After a look at what is out there from recent times, my thoughts turned to the history of it all.  For how long have mosaic artists been patterning their work from the images of celebrities? I did some quick research and found a few earlier celebrity mosaics.


Here is Justinian Bieber by an unknown artist circa 500 A.D. As it probably does for you, the resemblance is quite scary to me, for many reasons.


Constantine was also very popular in his day…

In any case, celebrity mosaics have been around for a while and probably always will be. But, it’s interesting that in the past year I think we’ve seen more than normal.
Eric (eric@oldmosaics.com)

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