After over a week of being out with a summer plague of some kind, I have emerged to see the light and some awesome new artwork. Today David Chidgey, whose awe-inspiring mandala was featured on this blog a couple weeks ago, has agreed to do an artist profile. He has some great stuff to say and a beautiful image of his work to share.
1) What do you love about your medium?
Mosaic is the perfect art medium for me. Throughout my life, I have been drawn to things that were unique and/or beautiful, yet somehow broken or incomplete. In things that others throw away, I see possibility and creative potential. It’s a type of beauty that really speaks to me. With the mosaic medium, materials are usually broken or cut and then reassembled to express an idea or feeling or , as is often the case, provide ornamentation. So it makes sense that my affinity for the broken and fragmented would eventually lead to my love of mosaics.
2) Describe a piece of artwork that you find superficial or boring.
In the world of mosaics, there is a range of work from the extraordinary to the simple and mundane. Mosaics, that are created using small uniform square tiles, are what I think many people imagine when they hear the word mosaics. Technically, a mosaic process has been used because small pieces (i.e. the uniform tile) are put together to form a whole. However, I often see this type of mosaic as only a wall or floor covering and not really art. The reflection of the artist in the mosaic is missing. It doesn’t draw me in to look closely, explore, and/or react.
3) When did you first call yourself an artist, and why?
I had been creating my small mosaic mandalas for several years when I got a commission for two garden mosaics for a residence outside of New York City. The landscape architect and client flew me up to the site to help in the selection of the color of iridescent glass tile that was to be used. Upon arriving at the site, the landscape architect introduced me to the general contractor and client as “the artist from Texas”. I remember wondering who in the world was she referring to and then it struck me that she was talking about me! In that split second, I recognized for the first time that I truly was an artist. And since then, I have never looked back or had second thoughts. It is just who I am. Here is one of the completed mosaics.
4) Describe an artist and/or piece of work that you find consistently inspiring.
There are two mosaic artists that I consistently find inspiring. The first is Ilana Shafir. She has been an artist all of her life and in the last two decades has devoted herself to the language of mosaics. She is internationally known for creating mosaic murals/panels that incorporate ceramic elements that she makes, natural stone/materials, and the broken, discarded ceramics of others. The resulting organic forms transport the viewer to a whole new world. Ilana is in her eighties and lives in Israel.
The second mosaic artist that I find inspiring is Kelly Knickerbocker. She came to the world of mosaics after taking a mosaic workshop in 2005. I feel she exemplifies the most important rule for professional artists. Show up and do your “work”. This daily commitment of the artist to his or her craft is what accelerates personal artistic growth. (Yes, even if you are not inspired or motivated.)
5) What is your unique purpose for creating work?
I am not sure that I know what my unique purpose is for creating my work other than to share myself with the world and to play.