Rita Garcia’s mosaic art work is inspired by the ancient and modern methods of mosaic making. The Australian artist has been creating mosaics for about 6 years now (“but I’ve been collecting mosaic and art books and pictures for over 25 years”) and believes in creating a story within each of her mosaic creations, while making them fun and vibrant. “I love the way the masters of old put together masterpieces that looked like paintings made out of marble and coloured glass,” she says. “I also love the colour and fun of the more modern mosaics.” She gains inspiration from the work of photographers who have captured stunning scenes of nature or a quirky animal.
She not only uses glass tiles in her work, but also stained glass, glass marbles, ceramic tiles and colours rocks. These materials are found in colourful and vibrant tones and are quite hard-wearing for outdoor pieces. Most of all, she loves to use pieces of mirror in her work. “I know that some people believe that a broken mirror is someone’s bad luck for seven years then surely recycling this can only make it better!” she laughs.
Her outdoor pieces tend to be based on weatherproof materials such as ceramic, terracotta, concrete and glass. Her indoor pieces include wood bases.
When asked what her favourite technique is, she says, “My artwork is all about expression using the mosaic technique. All of my pieces are designed by me and I get just as much pleasure out of the design process as I do in the mosaic work. I like to sketch my ideas first (usually just in black pencil, but sometimes I’ll use colours) and only proceed with the mosaic once I am happy with the sketch. This helps when sorting out a design with a customer who hasn’t really visualised what a piece might look like when finished. As the mosaic process takes a long time, it pays to put in the effort in the design phase.”
Having started out at ARTE around 3 1/2 years ago, Rita’s designs have evolved in time to include some smaller pieces that people are often looking for in a market as well as a whole new range of outdoor weather ready artwork that adds colour to any garden. She was kind enough to share a photo of her very first ARTE table in June 2010 and the latest photo of her ARTE table in December 2013.
Rita shares with us one of the most exciting pieces she worked on. “I recently designed an owl that I’d had the concept in my head for some time but had been unable to get on with it due to other art pieces I was working on. I love the colour of the owls’ eyes, their expressions and their apparent wisdom. I wanted to capture these in my work. In particular, I wanted to have the owl make you stop and answer her a question. I looked at many photos of owls and made many sketches until I was finally happy with the shape. Then, I went to work on finding the right colours and cutting the tiles to best depict how I wanted her to look. I started on her eyes as this was the most important feature I needed to get right. The rest of the face and body followed. I worked on a mesh which I subsequently glued onto a large wooden base. Once finished, I chose her name. I went with “WHO?”
I really enjoyed making “WHO?” as it was my idea that had been percolating for a long time. I made her for fun not because I particularly had a final destination for her in mind. Since I first exhibited her last month, the reaction from all has been very rewarding.
That’s why it is important for her to make customized pieces. “I like to work with people to bring their ideas to life. It often means I’m being more adventurous and trying something I wouldn’t otherwise try when I make something new based on an idea presented to me. I like to make all my pieces different even though I may reuse elements of a design that was successful. I will always make it different using an assortment of colours and cutting techniques so that each piece is an individual work of art.”
Rita has also taking some time to express appreciation to all the ARTE artisans who are, in her words, “Incredibly warm and willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Sometimes they have shared exhibition and other sales opportunities with me which is always appreciated. I sense a feeling of encouragement to continue to express and share my art from the other ARTE artisans.”