Archaeologists in Turkey recently unearthed an exceptionally preserved mosaic inside the remains of a building from the 3rd century. One section of the three-panel artwork includes a reclining skeleton with an arm over its head, holding a glass of wine and resting an elbow on a loaf of bread. On both sides of its head reads the phrase “Be cheerful and live your life,” written in Greek. The purpose of the building surrounding the mosaic, and even when it was made is currently being debated. Some experts believe the triptych was simply the floor of a wealthy person who could afford to have it built, while others think it might be a message in a soup kitchen urging people to get their food quickly and leave. The History Blog has a great analysis and quite a bit more background if you’re interested. (via The History Blog)
Photographer Sebastian Erras‘s Paris-based project has only one perspective—down. This vantage however, never fails to delight as it is captures the ornate mosaics of Parisian floors, brightly patterned tiles and scenes that exist underfoot. Each shot within Parisian Floors (@parisianfloors) is uniform, a cropped image of Erras’s own shoes and the surrounding tile decorations. This repetitive shot ensures we keep our focus on the tiles, highlighting the exquisite forms that make their way below the photographer’s feet.
Inspiration for the project began when Erras took a trip to Morocco, bringing his love of mosaics back with him to France. Here he became aware of the beautiful floors that graced Paris, coming back to the city with a fresh eye to start his Instagram-focused project.
“After a while being in Paris and wandering around the city, the main attractions and sights become a given,” Erras told Colossal. “Now looking down more often I get to see a whole new side of this city! It has been a good motivation to rediscover Paris again.”
Placing the project on Instagram also allows Erras to map the city of Paris through geotags, building comprehensive map of images and allowing the photographer to see which areas of the city he has yet to discover. (via My Modern Met)
For the third year in a row Chicago artist Jim Bachor (previously here and here) has taken it upon himself to preemptively fix city potholes by filling them with themed mosaics. This year Bachor decided on a series of 10 pothole mosaics called Treats in the Streets featuring different kinds of ice cream. At the latest count, four artworks have appeared in locations around Chicago, and he traveled all the way to Jyväskylä, Finland last week to do three more mosaics including a local popsicle-like dessert called Amppari-mehujaa. Bachor says to keep an eye out for three more pieces back home in Chicago sometime before spring is out.
From 2012-2013 Gucci Japan produced an online video series called “Hand” that payed homage to 35 artists and designers who eschew modern mass-production in favor of traditional techniques. One of the most impressive videos is an example of Japanese parquetry demonstrated by Noboru Honma, where geometric mosaics of wood are cut into razor-thin veneers for application on boxes or other decorative objects.
According to Jesus Diaz over at Gizmodo, when viewed with headphones and at full-screen, this video may be an example of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), a perceptual phenomenon that’s described on Wikipedia as “a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and/or cognitive stimuli.” So, what’s the verdict, does this Japanese parquetry make your spine tingle!? Or maybe this calligraphy video? Or what about competitive wood planing? Anything? (via Spoon & Tamago, Sploid)
After one of the most brutal winters in over 30 years, Chicago’s streets are pockmarked with an estimated 600,000 gaping potholes, making some streets almost impassable and raising the ire of residents citywide. The issue is so prevalent that the city even created a dedicated Pothole Tracker that shows potholes patched by the Department of Transportation over the last seven days. But some Chicagoans are more proactive and aren’t content to wait for help. One such person is artist Jim Bachor who has taken to filling potholes with original tile mosaics.
Inspired in part by trips to view ancient art in Italy during the 1990’s, Bachor has been creating mosaic work for several years, though of a much more whimsical nature. Think mosaics of coffee cups, twinkies, and boxes of cereal. For his pothole project Bachor has filled about 7 potholes with his original artwork that borrows from the design of the Chicago flag. While some of the mosaics simply read POTHOLE others are given unique ID numbers or include the phone number to nearby auto repair shops (the city has received 1,100 claims of car damage due to potholes this season). Bachor says the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant more as a sense of civic pride than a form of complaint against the city, as the potholes are an inevitable part of living in Chicago.
Photo by Kate Sierzputowski courtesy Hyperallergic
Bachor hopes to do a few more pieces in the near future, though each mosaic costs around $50 to make and takes a considerable amount of time to prepare and install. Also, the resulting patch is temporary; these aren’t meant as a permanent fix. You can read more about the project over on Hyperallergic, and you can see more of Jim’s work at the Thorndale Red Line stop in a few months. (via Hyperallergic)
Artist Gerhard Marx in conjunction with Spier Architectural Arts recently created an enormous sculptural mosaic of an aerial photograph of Johannesburg, South Africa. Seven professional mosaic artists, together with nine apprentices worked for 5 months to complete the project using natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chips of Venetian smalti glass. In the end, the 56-panel aerial image weighs nearly three tons and was presented last month at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair.
Watch the video above to see how the piece came together, and also learn about another work created through an additional partnership between Spier and artist Sam Nhlengethwa. (via Colossal Submissions)