Aretha Franklin is an American icon. Aretha grew up in Detroit, the heart of R&B in the 60’s and 70’s. She was the ‘Queen of Soul’ for her whole career. No one during her life time dethroned her. Aretha was in life and even in death one of a kind. There are many things I think about when I do a mosaic. One thought is, “What image am I going to use?” Continue reading “Aretha Franklin”
I just finished my mosaic of the jazz saxophone genius Charlie Parker. I will be showing it, as a vendor along with my other mosaics, at the Chicago Jazz Festival, this Labor Day weekend. Charlie along with Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and others created a style of music called Bebop. This style of music was created in the early 1940’s by African American musicians who wanted more freedom of expression and a more individual sound than the Big Band sound of the time could provide.
I started listening to Nancy Wilson when I was in college over 50 years ago. She made an album with Cannon Ball Adderley in 1961, that I listened to and became a Nancy Wilson fan for life.
Save Your Love For Me is still one of my favorite Nancy Wilson songs. And that album with Cannon Ball is still one of my favorites. Whenever, she came to the Detroit area and Ann Arbor, I would go to her concerts.
When she sings she likes to talk to the audience and tell stories. She sings songs that spoke about the ups and downs in relationships, and most of all she sang about love.
Nancy knew early that she would be a singer and pursued her goal. She moved to New York after graduating from high school and started her career. She met various musicians and artists and she became known for her great voice and style of singing.
She signed with Capital Records and the rest is history. She has won three Grammy Awards and numerous honors. One thing I didn’t know about her was she really enjoyed singing in front of big bands.
She sang with the Count Basie Band in the mid fifties. Nancy still performs at the age of eighty one. She is a true Diva and has a style all her own.
In this mosaic Nancy is approximately sixty five. I tried to show in my own mosaic style how she sings with emotion and is deeply soulful. The colors I chose to use in the mosaic reflect the the emotions I feel when I am listening to her music. I truly admire Nancy and I hope this mosaic reflects that feeling.
One of her signature songs is Guess Who I Saw Today. A song about infidelity that she does a masterful job.
My favorite Nancy Wilson songs are:
- The Greatest Performance of my Life
- Face it Girl
- Someone to Watch Over Me
- Save your Love for Me
- Don’t Ask My
- I’ll Get Along Somehow
- All in Love is Fair
Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of Gregory Sipp release of his Nancy Wilson Mosaic.
Gregory will be showing this one of a kind Mosaic along with his other mosaics at Art Birmingham. May 12th and 13th, 2018.
Visit Greg at Booth #056
Click here for more info on how to find Grgory Sipp at Art Birmingham.
This year Art Birmingham celebrates its 37th annual return to Shain Park, downtown Birmingham’s beautiful City Park. This exquisite fine art fair will showcase more than 150 juried artists in an elegant and extraordinary setting and is an annual Mother’s Day tradition. Featured work includes painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, glass, wood, sculpture, mixed media, fiber, metal and more.
Shain Park is conveniently located in the center of this favorite urban downtown and features all new and welcoming pathways and beautiful landscaping. As the downtown center, the park is surrounded by convenient parking for fair goers and within easy access to the many unique stores and fabulous restaurants of downtown Birmingham. Admission is free.
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.
I had a great time at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. Besides the fact that I sold my Thelonious Monk mosaic and numerous prints of my mosaics. The festival was held at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Rockville, MD.
The hotel was very welcoming. And the settings for both the jazz high school competitions and the jazz headliners were outstanding.
With the great mixture of the enthusiastic high schoolers, the professionalism of the veteran jazz musicians, and the great jazz audience made this festival outstanding.
The jazz tradition is very strong on the east coast.
Thelonious Sphere Monk was a jazz pianist and composer. Monk was one of five jazz musicians featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Monk was known for his style of play he flattened his fingers at times and he sometimes played with his elbows to get the sound he wanted.
He was a vital member of the jazz revolution which took place in the early 1940’s along with Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.
He was known for his multitude of jazz compositions.
Here is a short list of his jazz compositions that have become jazz standards:
- Round Midnight
- Blue Monk
- Straight No Chaser
- Ruby My Dear
- In Walked Bud
- Think of One
- Well You Needn’t.
He will forever be known for being one of the originators of the jazz style known as Bebop my favorite form of jazz. I just finished this Monk mosaic this is my second mosaic of this truly original jazz artist.
The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAFJ) is presented in the true spirit and intent of the former East Coast Jazz Festival (ECJF). Founded in 1992 by vocalist/vocal educator Ronnie Wells, for the next 15 years the ECJF was produced by and benefited The Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund, Inc.
(FMJS). ECJF was originally created in honor of Elmore “Fish” Middleton, a Washington, DC jazz radio programmer, whose commitment to promoting jazz music and supporting emerging jazz artists became the guiding principle behind the festival.
Produced by the Jazz Academy of Music, which hosts a burgeoning annual jazz camp for aspiring high school jazz musicians, the MAJF makes an indelible commitment to jazz education.
The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will build upon the legacy of ECJF in presenting the region’s finest talents and visiting masters in unique “festival” programs and configurations, Next Generation jazz artists, and student ensembles.
I have been a Tony Bennett fan since the sixties. I did some research on Tony and I found out he marched with Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King in Selma Alabama. He has been a civil rights advocate for years. He has performed over six decades. He is 91 and still performing concerts.
Tony Bennett is one of the most successful legendary jazz and popular musicians of our time. He has sold over 50 million records worldwide, is a published author, and a successful painter. Mr. Bennett has been inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, and in 2002 received a lifetime achievement award from ASCAP.
He has won fifteen Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
I did this mosaic of Ray Charles because he was such a dynamic
singer and inspiration for a lot of people. The fact that he was blind
never seemed to matter to him. I liked the fact that he seemed to
really love what he did. And he played and sang with such energy