Jose M has been participating in thePiece by Pieceprogram since our inception in 2007. 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.
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Where are you from? Where do you live now? I was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico and grew up in the state of Oaxaca. Now I live in Los Angeles in a Korean neighborhood, a multicultural neighborhood with diverse people.
Tell us about your family. I am separated. I have three sons, Eric, Wilbur, and Cristian, who are all adults. I also have five grandchildren, Erika, Jason, Sebastian, Jesse, Joel, and my two daughter-in-laws, Aida and Minerva. I live with my children and grandchildren in an apartment.
Tell us about past work/school or other meaningful experiences. I finished my career in Mexico as a technician and studied a bit of English in college in Los Angeles, in addition to taking mosaic workshops. I have worked in many different jobs, like most immigrants, always trying to further my family.
What is something you are proud of? Learning the art of mosaics and of being able to show what I’ve learned to other people who follow me in the community.
When did you first come to Piece by Piece? A friend of mine, Hugo Navarro, had invited me for a year to participate in these workshops before it happened, and once I got to Piece by Piece I found my path. Now I am going on 14 years in this group and they have been great.
How have you grown as a person and artist since joining Piece by Piece? My growth has been very fast and I have a gift of being able to create and enjoy what I do. That makes me happy.
When did you start creating mosaics? Since the first day that I arrived at Piece by Piece, and I have sold most of my mosaics. That makes my proud because every mosaic holds a part of my heart.
How did you first hear about Piece by Piece? Hugo took me to a workshop and showed me the works of the other artists. That is how I heard of the group.
What has Piece by Piece and creating mosaics added to your life? It has given me a lot of peace, and the ability to see life from a different perspective as an artist and human being. I have also enjoyed the companionship of the group and I appreciate the instructors and group leaders.
What inspires you? Kandinsky, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, but my inspiration comes more from nature - the colors, shapes, and the beauty of seeing those natural changes.
What project have you enjoyed most? And why? I enjoyed the first public project from Piece by piece which was the giant leaves that were made, but I enjoyed even more making my first public mural as an instructor in Koreatown with the participation of the people in my immigrant community, the majority of which are housewives and day laborers, wonderful people.
What are you most proud of from your time at Piece by Piece so far? Of how Piece by Piece has always supported me as I grow on this path of mosaic art. They are always there to help me and give me a hand when I want to do more as I walk through art.