Sneak peek into fabrication process for artwork at future Palms Station

Artist Shizu Saldamando in her studio, with one of her original artworks in the background.

Artist Shizu Saldamando in her studio, with one of her original artworks in the background.

This is the second in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork  fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Commissioned artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

This post introduces the artwork of Los Angeles-based artist Shizu Saldamando, which will be featured at Palms Station. Saldamando’s original artwork, Artist Educators, uses wood, graphite pencil and Japanese washi paper. It consists of 10 large scale overhead panels and was translated in a variety of mediums, including ceramic tiles that are fired in a kiln using different techniques. The 10 panels will be located in overhead structures at Palms Station entries and throughout the platform, highly visible to transit customers and the general public.

Saldamando is integrally involved in the process to ensure that the ceramic tile artwork matches the color and hue of her original, delicately rendered drawings on wood panels.

Artwork Description: In Artist Educators, pencil drawings on wood panels collaged with hand-cut Japanese washi paper illustrate the people, places and plant life of the station area. Saldamando’s choice of materials references her family’s history as well. Her grandfather created wood sculptures while in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. The use of wood and washi paper connects the compositions with the Palms area’s Japanese heritage, while depicting images of a changing landscape and social demographic. Each person depicted in the artwork is an artist educator.

In the artist’s own words, “I am a third generation inhabitant and am familiar with the diverse communities, changing architecture and cultural history of the area. I hope to reflect the various people and places that make the area what it is today and encourage people to continue to reflect tomorrow.”

The artist’s original drawings and collage on natural wood panels were translated onto ceramic tile using silk-screen, hand-painting and air brushing. Her graphite pencil sketches were silk-screened on the ceramic tile, while the Japanese paper cut-outs were executed as inlays in various fused glass techniques including silk-screen-printing, hand-painting and gold-leafing. The ceramic tile went through a water-jet-process for the mosaic inlays. Learn how water jets work here through a “How Things Work” video that creates a Superman logo cut of steel using this technique.

Other paper patterns in the original artwork were translated onto the ceramic tile by silk-screen, hand-painting or executed as hand-set mosaic glass inlays, using Italian and Mexican smalti, a colored vitreous paste from which tesserae, the basic unit for wall mosaics are obtained.

Fired ceramic tile is a highly durable material often used in transit environments. Ceramic tile has been used in public art for over 2000 years dating back to Roman and Egyptian times, telling the story of how these cultures lived.

Click here for more information about the artist and here about her work for Palms Station.

Click here for the previous Source post on artist Constance Mallinson’s artwork at 26th St/Bergamot Station.

Enjoy photos documenting the fabrication process below:

Highly skilled artisans paint a wood likeness onto ceramic tile. Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Highly skilled artisans paint a wood likeness onto ceramic tile. Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Thousands of tiny mosaic tiles are prepared to handset into ceramic tiles.  Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Thousands of tiny mosaic tiles are prepared to handset into ceramic tiles. Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

The artist's original paper cut collage designs have been translated into mosaic inlays that are fit into water-jet-cut spaces in the ceramic tile.  Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

The artist’s original paper cut collage designs have been translated into mosaic inlays that are fit into water-jet-cut spaces in the ceramic tile. Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Artisans hand laying mosaic pieces into ceramic tile.  Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Artisans hand laying mosaic pieces into ceramic tile. Photo Credit: Mayer of Munich

Hand laid mosaic in ceramic tiles being pieced together following assigned number order.

Hand laid mosaic in ceramic tiles being pieced together following assigned number order.

Detail _ Inspection 08.23.14Detail 2_ Inspection 08.23.14The three photos above show details of the original graphite pencil sketches of "artist educators" translated into silk-screen onto ceramic tile.

The three photos above show details of the original graphite pencil sketches of “artist educators” translated into silk-screen onto ceramic tile.

Shizu Saldamando inspecting her artwork panels are they were delivered by artwork fabricator Mayer of Munich to ensure that the colors of her original artwork are accurately reflected, and that the color is consistent among all of the panels.

Shizu Saldamando inspecting her artwork panels are they were delivered by artwork fabricator Mayer of Munich to ensure that the colors of her original artwork are accurately reflected, and that the color is consistent among all of the panels.

Careful inspection of each of the tiles received from the fabricator comprising the artwork panels.

Careful inspection of each of the tiles received from the fabricator comprising the artwork panels.

4 replies

    • Hi Tracy;

      We don’t have a team per se, but those of us who do social media are aware of the need to produce more videos internally. The only real obstacle is time as we also need to maintain the blog and social media on a daily basis as well as some other duties. That said, we’re going to try to put more videos out there, even if some of them aren’t very polished.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  1. Gwow! Honored, humbled… thanks for your work and gifts to the world Shizu… I can’t wait to see it go up!!!! Keep up the marvelous magic that you do!