Mosaic artist Julie Mazzoni presents her portfolio and talks about influences, selling and growing as an artist.
ABI: How does your background in architecture influence your mosaic art today?
JM: My architecture background laid the foundation of universal design principles that I apply in my mosaics today. It has facilitated the initial composition phases of my projects when I consider and address multiple issues, from material restrictions to technical challenges. It has also been of considerable help in understanding materials and working with their strengths.
In architecture, there is an omnipresent three-dimensional element that I think has given me an interest in making my sculptural or bas relief pieces. It also gave me a tough skin – critiques in college especially could be harsh. I couldn’t take it personally – it was all about the design and the process. Mosaics are not a quick medium, and as such they demand a very thorough planning stage to ensure success. My architecture background has also driven the overall theme of my work, which is Home and Sense of Place, through people and nature.
ABI: What other formats do you use to sell your work?
JM: Because so much time and effort is needed to create an original mosaic, the price point can be quite high and out of reach for many people. I have addressed this in a few ways – I also make mosaic jewelry pendants with glass, gold, Swarovski crystals and mirrored glass. A pendant can be finished in one to two hours, and so is much more affordable than a large format mosaic. I often make pendants while in the midst of a large project, and they serve three purposes. The pendants allow me to time to ponder which direction to take in the larger piece, give me the satisfaction of completing a mosaic, and are an easy way to travel with my work.
In addition to the pendants, I also have an account at Fine Art America, a site that makes prints from my uploaded mosaic images. Clients can order everything from a framed print to phone case covers and pillows. There is also an image licensing option if the image is to be used commercially.
ABI: Tell us about your future plans.
JM: My instinct thus far has been to try every kind of material and method mosaics has to offer, from handmade ceramics to minerals, stone, traditional thick cut smalti glass, glass beads and found objects. However, I have made the business decision to focus on both large format realism with stained glass and back it up with creating unique pendants. In my spare time I might explore innovative techniques and styles, but my 9-5 will be to create a cohesive series of landscapes and portraits.
I am a cutting edge, award-winning mosaic artist through my three-dimensional exploratory work. But I have found that in general through paying clients and commissioned work, realism is in higher demand and is better at paying the bills. I am currently in process of making a series of lily pond mosaics based on my original photography from public and private Georgia ponds, and in the process exploring my theme of home and sense of place.