MIKE MANDEL MOSAIC TILE PUBLIC ART PROJECTS
My interest as an artist in public is to engage ideas of history, people and neighborhoods. I attempt to realize this goal by tapping into the power of documentary. Photographs can be translated as large architectural images to dramatically engage us with instances of history and human experience. I am known for my unique photographic ceramic tile mosaics. My mosaic walls become an integrated aspect of a building’s architectural presence.
I work with materials and form that are ancient: porcelain, glass and mosaics. But what is unique about my work is that I create mosaic imagery that is photographic in illusion. Often I work with historical archives as source imagery for my mosaic murals. My interest in public art and specifically in finding a way to translate photographs into a more architectural scale led me to the idea of a mosaic walls based on electronic imagery. A one inch tile could be considered a real world analog to the electronic pixel, and thousands of these tiles could add up to become a wall of photographic imagery. I use porcelain and glass tile because they are permanently colorfast, and easily maintained for a lasting installation. I work with a palette of approximately one hundred colors of tile. My murals are fabricated in my own studio and under my direct supervision.
In my work the viewing distance transitions from photographic illusion to abstraction as one moves closer or farther from the murals. People who see my work from a distance love to come up and touch it, in wonder of what they’ve just experienced. Ideally, the viewing public can experience the work from a variety of long site perspectives, and from just inches away. It’s this level of audience interest and participation that makes my mosaic work unique.