06 August 2010

Magical Mosaics 1: I (heart) U

Mosaic by Isaiah Zagar, near South Street, Philadelphia, August 2010

Scrap mosaic by Zagar (or student/s), Phila., Aug. 2010
Philadelphia is home to many artists, among them the prolific and wildly unconventional mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. His mosaic murals first started appearing in his once-dilapidated South Philadelphia neighborhood around in the late 1960s and now grace 100 walls around Philadelphia and in various places around the world. His mosaics have been described variously as "amazing immersive artwork," "ebullient," and "garbage," the latter uttered by the previous owner of a building Zagar covered top to bottom with shards of glass, pottery, mirror, bottles, bicycle rims, and whatever else he could get to stick in the mortar and grout holding his creations together.

Thanks to generous benefactors and ardent fundraising this building now houses Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, the official home base for Zagar's mosaics and for walking tours, classes, and special events for people of all ages. If I were staying in town I'd likely be taking the next mosaic mural workshop.... When I get home to New Mexico, maybe I'll start my own renegade mural movement....

Detail of large firehouse mosaic mural by Isaiah Zagar near Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, August 2010

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