Featured Piece by Piece Artist: Jose M
Jose M has been participating in the Piece by Piece program for almost five years. Before then, he had never tried mosaic art. His thirst for knowledge and his dedication to learning has shown through the development of his work. Jose has worked his way through our program and now participates in small and large commissions, including the Gower Public Art project and the Universal Discover A Star mural. In December 2012, Jose’s piece “Arbol de Vida” was accepted into an exhibit at the Los Angeles Arboretum. He took a chunk of a wood stump and created the artwork seen in the photo below. He cut the shapes, did the complete design and mosaic.
Jose with his Arbol de Vida, which was accepted into the L.A. Arboretum's Forces of Nature exhibition.
Share something with us about your background. I was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico in January of 1968. I arrived in California in 1990. I live in Koreatown with my family. I have three children and five grandchildren. I love to share and be with my family, like to go out for a walk, a bite to eat or just hang out with them.
Have you done another type of art? I participate along with people of my community in the creation of three-dimensional figures made with different types of vegetables.
Do you have a favorite artist who influences your work? There are several artists whose art inspires my mosaics. To mention a few: Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Giulio Menossi.
How long have you been taking workshops with Piece by Piece? I came to Piece by Piece about 5 years ago. I was invited by a person that had been participating in the workshops. I was very impressed by the work the organization does helping people that don’t have the financial possibilities to pay for classes, but that want a better quality of life.
Jose working with other Piece by Piece artists on a recent commission.
What do you like about the program? I like the program because I can learn, create and sell my own pieces; and that the program is open for others to come and take the workshops for free. It has helped me to develop my abilities and skills, focusing my efforts in the creation of pieces of art using different techniques, materials, textures and colors. It also gives me a chance to work by myself, and as a team.
Jose found a plain vase at a thrift store, cleaned it up, and used a classic style mosaic pattern to give it a new life.
There are many choices for mosaic pieces, what materials do you like to use? I like to read about different art forms and discover new ways of doing my own art with recycled materials.
What is your favorite piece you’ve made? The first piece I made was an Aztec Calendar. My favorite pieces are several like the Van Gogh sunflowers, a table with an eagle that I made and many more.
What is something you would like to learn more about? I am fascinated by mosaics and I would love to learn more about micro mosaics and how to create faces. This year, I want to make some three dimensional pieces. Also, I want to create a mural where I can capture my roots, culture and Mexican customs.
What is the most important thing you feel you have learned in the workshops? Piece by Piece has taught me leadership. I have put together a group in my community where I serve as a volunteer teaching what I have learned to people that need it in my neighborhood. I want to say thank you to everyone that is part of Piece by Piece and that make this program run for people in need in the Los Angeles community.
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As we head in to 2023, we wanted to take a minute to look back at 2022, and all that was accomplished at Piece by Piece. Thank you for your ongoing support, none of this would have happened without your investment in the Piece by Piece mission.
Kelley Knickerbocker returned to Piece by Piece to work with participant artists to practice using a variety of materials, creating a piece that flowed from a quiet, regular layout to having a more vibrant energy.
In November, artist Instructor Ellen Dinerman offered a unique take on our books theme. She challenged Piece by Piece artists in a series of workshops that studied the history and development of type and typefaces, and also examined unique techniques used to create lettering in mosaic