Our blog post this week is written by Mosaicist and Co-op member June Martin of Moth and Twig.
Clearly I did not ever have a love affair with Antoni Gaudi since he died in 1926 and I’m not THAT old, but I am deeply in love with his works. Gaudi has been a great inspiration for my work in mosaic arts. I had the great pleasure of spending nearly a month, solo, in Barcelona, Spain. It was 2004 and I was going through some transitions so off to Europe I went, mainly because as an emerging mosaic artist, I knew had to experience Gaudi’s works first hand and I knew that a week or two was not going to be adequate in order to savor his works and the magnificent city of Barcelona.
Gaudi experienced various influential periods in his life including, but not limited to, his Orientalist period, Neo-Gothic period, and Naturalist Period. I seem to be drawn to his Naturalist Period the most, though arguably, all of his periods can be seen in his works. I remember how I felt when I first entered Casa Mila (more commonly known as La Pedrera). With its sinuous curves, interior courtyards, and rooftop with chimneys covered in ceramics and shapes that suggest medieval helmets, I remember feeling as though I had stepped into an organic being. I was filled with joy, wonder, and incredible excitement. I would soon learn that I would experience these emotions every time I viewed or stepped inside one of Gaudi’s creations. I can only envy the handful of families who have the distinct pleasure of residing in Casa Mila.
Wandering through the various areas of Casa Mila was truly an amazing experience. From the structure to the beautiful furnishings, truly a magical experience.
Could such a place exist? Again, it was like stepping inside a living, breathing, beautiful being. I was overcome by beauty, form, color, and the feeling of happiness, playfulness, and pure joy.
During my month long adventure, I continued to meander throughout the city, visiting other Gaudi wonders as well as reveling in other artists’ works including that of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. I was inspired by the fluidity and beauty of Art Nouveau, seemingly at every turn, and the Modernista buildings throughout Barcelona including Casa Lleo Morera, Casa Calvet, and Casa Vicens.
Towards the end of my stay, I finally made it to the Sagrada Familia, and to Parc Guell. I had seen and experienced so much by the time I made it to these places, that I felt it only fitting to pay homage to Gaudi one sunny afternoon at Parc Guell. After meandering around the park and soaking in the amazing structures, the mosaics, and of course the iconic Parc Guell lizard, I climbed to the highest point in the park and made sure I had a clear view of The Sagrada Familia. It is there that I enjoyed a picnic consisting of Cava (Spanish wine), cheeses, biscuits, and a few tapas from my adventures the night before.
I toasted Gaudi and his brilliance, and I toasted the other artists and architects who created such beauty in fabulous Barcelona. I felt lucky to be alive and humbled by the brilliance all around me. I took all that I saw back with me to the states and knew that I would never quite be the same. I felt newly inspired and excited to continue on my path as a burgeoning mosaic artist
Stop by Artistic Portland any day of the week 10 am - 6 pm (noon-5 pm on Sundays) to see and purchase June's work in person!