I had the good fortune of having Sascha Feinstein contact me on my website. Sascha is a professor at Lycoming College in Penn.
He also is a well known poet, essayist, and editor.
Sascha founded Brilliant Corners : A Journal of Jazz and Literature in 1996.
Brilliant Corners, the only national journal to focus on jazz-related literature.
The journal is an international publication. Sascha told me he had seen my work online and he wanted to feature one of my mosaics on the cover of his journal in the May Edition. Of course, I was thrilled, his journal is dedicated to literature and jazz that feature the music I love.
He chose the Charles Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie mosaic to feature in the journal.( please see image) He also included Notes about the Cover Art which stated information about me and how I made mosaic. Again I would like to thank Sascha Feinstein for including me in his journal.
A Note on the Cover Art
I have been a jazz enthusiast for over 50 years. I especially like the
straight-ahead, bebop jazz from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. Many of my mosaics are of individuals from these periods, including Miles Davis,
John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan,
and, most recently, Thelonious Monk.
For the portrait of Dizzy Gillespie, I sketched an outline of the trumpet master. on a painted wooden board. The actual mosaic process began
at that point. Generally speaking, my color choices are based on finding
colors that complement one another but that aren’t typically used in portraits.
For example, I chose a green stained-glass mix for his skin tone. For his hair and finger nails, I chose a purple, blue, and white mix.
When you are working with stained glass, you have to find glass that has the right color, as well as color patterns and the right value. I always listen to my muse when choosing colors, and, like any serious mosaic artist, make sure that I have a huge range of glass available.
This particular mosaic was challenging because I was trying to make
the horn and his hands look dimensional. All of my portraits require over
35 hours of work, but the Dizzy mosaic took over 70 because of its complexity.
As usual, each piece of glass had to be shaped and ground on a grinder, and then fit in place. You then glue the shaped pieces to the board. To give you an idea of the time commitment involved: the top of the horn alone took over 6 hours to complete.
Jazz for me has been the rhythm of my life. The music invigorates me.
The flow of the music, the creativity, the improvisation, and the various
techniques that musicians use inspire me. There is a message that I feel
jazz imparts: Share what you’ve learned; embrace diversity and courage,
and understand others so they, too, can speak.
The style and color choices I use in my mosaics reflect what I feel
when I am listening to the music. My passion for mosaics has grown every
year. I have found my artistic instrument.