Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fragmented Beauty: Mosaic Art by Ariel Shoemaker

"mosaic is like a puzzle. It engages the mind through a sequence of possibilities, trial and error. You look at the broken fragments of tile. Your eye assesses the space to be filled and searches for a corresponding shape. Piece by piece, you come closer to the desired form and effect. Mosaic is not simply an art form but a form of integration, a way of not only seeing the world but responding to it."   --Terry Tempest Williams, "Healing Rwanda"

Twitter is a wonderful thing. I have met many incredibly talented and passionate people through that medium, often quite unexpectedly. Ariel Finelt Shoemaker is one of those happy intersections of discovery.  Many of her pieces captivated me--she expresses a real depth of beauty and meaning in her abstract execution of the artform. After interviewing her for this blog post, I have a better understanding of why her work reflects such emotion. 

(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Here are excerpts from Ariel's biography on her website
Ariel Finelt Shoemaker is a professional mosaic artist and arts' educator. She has a keen passion for color, texture and innovation in this ancient art form. While creating custom mosaic works for private clients and vendors, she also donates pieces of her work to fund-raising events, participates as a featured artist in gallery shows and in group shows such as Newton Open Studios, The Wellesley Marketplace, and The DeCordova Museum's annual Art in the Park event, and teaches mosaic art throughout New England.
Inspired by her students and the vast array of creative people in her life, she hopes to continue cultivating motivational environments where members of communities and schools can find healing, confidence and inspiration through the arts.
Ariel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emerson College, Boston, MA with a concentration in Writing, Literature and Publishing. In June of 2004, she completed her Masters of Education, with a concentration in the Arts in Education, from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA. She currently lives with her husband and works in her home-studio on the Charles River in Waltham, MA. 
(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Recently, Ariel was kind enough to answer a few questions for me so we can better get to know her.

Q. How do you describe your work to people?  
A. Completely original, hand-cut mosaic art pieces.  I also fuse glass, which I call Fused Glass Micromosaics.  All my work reminds people of different things, but general themes include Gustav Klimt's work, tapestries, and "organic" shapes.

Q. What led you to the work you do today?  
A. Boredom and melancholy at a corporate job I was in 10 years ago.  I began breaking glass a few months after 9/11, when I lost several friends--and the founder of the company that I worked for at the time.  It was a devastating blow, and I needed something generative, productive and beautiful to do.  I taught myself how to puzzle together the broken pieces.

(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Q. How did creativity emerge in your life? 
A. I love this question.  Creativity was always nourished in my home.  Even as a child, I remember feeling rewarded by how creative I was with poetry I had written, art that I had created, or awards that my sister had won for her beautiful art works. Creativity is a completely normal thing for me--it's not an "outside piece of me" or an "other". It's ingrained in my person. Emergence of it occurred the moment I looked around, observed the world, and translated what I saw into writing, glass work, and other mediums I explored.  

(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Q.  What is the source of your inspiration?  
A. Mostly nature and literature.  Also, shape and color.

Q. What other creative outlets do you have?  
A. Doing art with our 4 year old son, Simon, and our 2.5 year old son, Max; cooking; writing.

Black Swan Bejeweled in Limes (Detail)(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Q. What are a few of your own favorite pieces/works and why?  

A. "Even in the Wasteland, Flowers Grow"--because I actually thought about the meaning of the poetry I studied so carefully as a student and translated it elegantly and poignantly into mosaic.  It earned a place in a National Mosaic competition and has since been purchased twice in two unique iterations. "Black Swan Bejeweled in Limes" is the other favorite.  It's a brave use of materials and color, and I just love the over-all effect of the interchange between the elements.  Exploring it deeper, you will find you will see more and more than at first glance.
Even in the Wasteland, Flowers Grow(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Q. Who are your favorite artists and why?  
A. In no particular order... Georgia O'Keefe--her ability to both represent accurately and skew our interpretation of scenes and objects. Willem de Kooning--the vibrancy and intensity of color that he uses just completely makes me tick. Gustav Klimt-- gold, women, lovers, subject/ context/ gorgeous interchange between subject/context and background. Everything about his work and history and interpretation of what he has seen and translates to his art arouses my interest.  Egon Schiele--portrayal of the human figure in all it's beauty and disfigurement.  Gory, yet beautiful.

Q. What music is moving you these days? 
A. Regina Spektor, Mumford and Sons, Beth Orton, JackJohnson, Adele, Coldplay.  All have soul and poignancy and terrifically infectious voices and lyrics.  All poets.  All rock starts.  Lovin' each of them.

Q. When people see your work, what will they know about you? 
A. You tell me.  

Q. What question do you wish people would ask you?  
A. How I ended up with a middle school Math teacher....?  How I deal with work/life/kids balance?  What inspires me?  Each day?

Q. What are a few of your favorite things?  
A. My two sons, my husband (most of the time), time alone, quiet, poetry, pearls, abalone shell, turquoise.

Q. How do you curate your life?  
A. With the love of things that we are able to purchase--within our budget--finding the intrinsic and quirky beauty in the not-so-obvious.  

(c) Ariel Finelt Shoemaker

Q. Any advice for people trying to follow their dreams?  
A. Just stick with it, and make sure that you have a supportive partner that will bring you coffee, a  glass of wine, what have you--when you need it.  Also, have those people around you that nurture your spirit, indulge your whims, and can take you out to enjoy something new and different--so that the boredom of "pursuing your dreams" doesn't make you miserable in the process.

Q. What is your philosophy of life in 12 words or less? 
A. If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If not now, when?  (Hillel)

Q. Where can we find you online?  
A. On my website, on Facebook, and on Twitter @mosaicsbyariel.  

Thank you for sharing your work and yourself with us Ariel!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love your work. That pink mirror is to die for! I wish I had more wall space!!!!