i made this while visiting my parents in chicago.
the tiles are leftovers from my parents' recent kitchen remodel. they are on a mesh and include natural stone tiles and stone tiles that have metal strips glued on them so that they look like metal tiles.
the shells are from my mother's collection of shells she's gathered.
at first i was planning on only using the tiles and making something in the visual style of nude descending a staircase. (NOTE: photographs of all artworks discussed in this post are below.) but then my mom showed me her shells and they were so cool that i decided to use them as well.
in the end i tried to go for something in the vein of "metal garbage under the sea that's being taken over by sea creatures and broken shells" without hiding the hard edges and lines created by the tiles. by that point i was mostly being inspired by the work of lee bontecou: "Her best constructions are at once mechanistic and organic" [from wikipedia].
finally, i was inspired by a mosaic i saw recently by lazar vozarevic at the belgrade youth center. it's a huge work that uses a muted palette of natural stone and smalti. i returned to the youth center the day after i first saw it to take a closer look, and began to more appreciate the palette, materials, and colors. i realized the extent to which i had ignored this type of palette and that it is very much possible to create an interesting palette with colors that evoke the junkyard. given that i find myself working with garbage a lot of the time, this is a useful thing to keep in mind. so i kept this bronzey, tan, black-with-soot palette in mind and it influenced me when i made this piece.
"nude descending a staircase" by duchamp (1912). image in the public domain.
"untitled 1959" by lee bontecou. photograph CC-BY-NC-SA by Dave.
metal and shell mosaic details: