Gail Christofferson creates amazing art mosaics on guitars, as well as designing murals which touch many other lives. Here is her story.
ABI: Tell us how you developed your mosaics on guitars concept and how you gained national acclaim.
GC: I have been creating mosaics on a variety of substrates for many years, and then I was given a used guitar. The challenge of working on the guitars and the energy that music brings to our lives, inspired and challenged my mosaic art. The bright colors and bold designs of each guitar are reflective of the universal power, joy, and inspiration of music.
I entered 13 mosaic guitars into Artprize, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Artprize installation led to a commission in the Nashville Airport. Twenty-nine mosaic string instruments were installed in the airport for nine months to promote the music festival Bonnaroo. Each unique design represented the spirit and the mood of the music and the experience of the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
In addition to generating sales from the installation, I have several high-end retail locations in Nashville that are now carrying my guitars. The airport commission also generated a significant number of custom orders.
My next large installation with the mosaic instruments is in Cleveland, Ohio at a prominent downtown office building, which will be hosting many of the Republican National Convention events. Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With these mosaics, the shape and form of traditional string instruments retain value even after the audio has gone silent. My work allows the instruments to continue to sing.
ABI: How much of your workday is studio related, and how much is business related?
GC: In order to work as an artist full time, I find that I need to commit as much time to the business and marketing efforts as I do to my studio. I am most productive in the mornings and dedicate that time to emails, proposals, social media, and marketing to galleries and potential clients. I try to spend afternoons, evening and/or weekends in my studio. I can concentrate on my studio work when I know that the business part of my day is in order.
ABI: Your mosaics have great appeal to a large number of people. What groups have you worked with?
GC: Today I am designing, coordinating and installing a growing number of community-based projects. This unique community approach results in a sense of ownership and pride as each individual’s contributions combine with others’ to blossom into a finished piece of art that is both aesthetically and socially engaging. Community-based art can be a vehicle for social change by empowering participants, transforming environments, and contributing to collective healing.
I have worked with libraries, schools, at-risk teen programs, and cancer centers. In the last five years, I have installed 12 large-scale mosaic projects, the majority of them involving the community in the hands-on process of the art of mosaic.
ABI: How do you work with communities in designing and constructing murals?
GC: My considerable experience in leading and organizing groups equips me to successfully plan and execute community participation in my art form. This skill set truly distinguishes the body of work I have installed in public places. My professional experience in marketing, public relations, visual communications, and project management contribute to the success of these community engagements.
I take great pride in my ability to work with clients to ensure they have a mosaic art installation that reflects the character and values of their community and facility.