Read about me in the latest edition of The Penn Gazette (9/19/12). They posted two video clips where I discuss my art and show examples from my studio.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 Q&A with CASABLANCA Mosaic Artist Jonathan Mandell By Devin Wachs, Public Relations Manager, BMFI
Summer is nearly over and we're preparing for our fall programming. Although seeing the season come to an end is bittersweet, there is one fantastic part: our traditional screening of Casablanca. Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 29 we will conclude our Summer Classics series with the World War II romance starring Bogie and Bergman as former lovers who are reunited in the distant Moroccan outpost.
How perfect it is that we honor one of our favorite films (and one of my favorite end-of-summer traditions) by displaying artist Jonathan Mandell's original mosaic interpretation of the film in our lobby. Thanks to the generous gift of Margie and Bryan Weingarten, visitors over the last several months have enjoyed seeing Mandell's tribute to the iconic film and will continue to do so for years to come.
Casablanca (c) Jonathan Mandell, 2000.
Mandell answered some questions via email about interpreting Casablanca and his artistic process.
What made you choose this film to inspire your mosaic?
Casablanca is one of the most iconic films of all time. It also has a rich history of movie posters and graphic art.
How long does it take to make a piece like this?
Creating a mosaic like this is a two-step process. The first part is creating the composition. The second is the fabrication of the design. It took a couple of weeks of research and design refinement to produce my composition. The fabrication took around four weeks. Each piece is hand shaped to fit the neighbor piece. The grout lines are designed to act as drawing lines. They establish depth perspective and the volume of form. An example would be on Bogie's pin-striped suit the grout lines are both pin stripes and drawing lines.
How do you plan your mosaics? What’s your process for creating one?
I create my composition first. Then I fabricate the panel. It is designed to be as light weight as possible. The panel also has a built-in hanging apparatus. The panel is then white washed and the drawing is laid out. The next step is picking and choosing materials. The Casablanca mosaic was made using ceramic tile and various semi-precious stones and minerals including snow flake obsidian, rhodonite, and hickoryite jasper.
Sam (Dooley Wilson) plays for Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) in Casablanca. This image inspired the central panel of Jonathan Mandell's mosaic.
What’s your favorite scene (or line) in Casablanca? Why?
The scene in Rick's cabaret where Sam offers up the tune "As Time Goes By". It is such a touching gesture to his longtime friend.
What movie would you like to depict next?
The Godfather. I would welcome the opportunity to create that.
If you haven't taken a close look at the mosaic yet, please do--perhaps on your way in to see Casablanca?
Mandell is about to start an 8ft x 6ft mosaic for Bryn Mawr Hospital. You can find out more information about his work at www.jonathanmandell.com.
My next public commission will be at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, PA. My piece will be an 8ft x 6ft wall mounted panel to go in the entrance way of their lobby. It will be a montage if images of the hospital's rich history and cutting edge future. www.jonathanmandell.com
Jonathan Mandell's 2012 Mosaic (36' X 36" X 4"), Flowers on Mars will be Auctioned Live on September 29th 2012 at the National Liberty Museum's Glass Gala Event.
Jonathan Mandell's new mosaic, Flowers on Mars (36" x 36" x 4") will be auctioned live at the National Liberty Museum's Glass Gala event on Saturday, September 29th, 2012. For information contact the Museum at: http://www.libertymuseum.org/
Jonathan Mandell's Casablanca mosaic (96" x 36"x 2") 2000 is now in the lobby of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. This mosaic was made using ceramic tile, and various semiprecious stones and minerals including jade, rhodonite, snowflake obsidian and hickoryite jasper. The grout joints act as drawing lines bringing the imagery to life.
This detail show the secondary players in the movie, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. The heads are around the size of an Eisenhower silver dollar. They were made using tweezer sized ceramic shards