Birds in Flight (2016), glass tile (5' x 38")
This work showcases a collaboration between artists José Orantes and Sandy Glass. The artists transformed an original, to-scale painting by Orantes into a mosaic comprised of vibrantly colored, quarter-inch vitreous glass tiles.
What do you see when you look at this mosaic? Does the landscape look blurry? Try stepping back a distance to look at the work. What do you see now? The tiles make the imagery look pixelated up-close, but the mural comes together from a distance, like an Impressionist painting.
Of the project, Glass says:
The old concrete walls seem(ed) drab in the context of the colorful organic shapes in the new play structures… Mosaic art is a medium that is timeless and lasting, even in our Northwest climate. Our mosaic designs draw from the natural elements of Luther Burbank Park and the Pacific Northwest to enhance the existing play area.
Sandy Glass and José Orantes
Artists Sandy Glass and José Orantes collaborated on this work. Each artist brings a demonstrable complementary set of skills to the project, sharing a sense of aesthetics, desire to involve community in the process, and passion to create beautiful and meaningful art to enhance public spaces.
Glass has worked as an art director and graphic designer for more than 30 years, giving her experience to coordinate the multi-faceted project and conceive visual solutions that enhanced the Luther Burbank Park playground by bringing color and nature into the area. She also applies her design skills to the medium of mosaics and her attention to detail results in lasting and quality art. Glass taught the art of mosaics to more than 1,500 Mercer Island 6th graders from 2007 to 2012, resulting in more than 180 feet of mosaics installed above lockers and six mosaic pillars displayed at Islander Middle School.
Orantes is an accomplished and award-winning artist with more than 30 years of experience. He has shown his work in numerous exhibitions, nationally and internationally. He also has created several public installations, including murals at Olympic View and Orca Schools in Seattle and public art in Guatemala. His unique style often simplifies and plays with perspective while introducing a playful and colorful approach to his subject matter. Orantes' whimsical style and talent to capture the environment around him were a great match with this project.
Two other mosaic installations in this area were created by the artists and Island students from grades three through eight. Glass and Orantes led after-school workshops with students from Lakeridge, Island Park, and West Mercer elementary schools as well as engaged middle school students to create Flight of the Butterflies and Soaring.