This is the fifth 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 artist Nzuji de Magalhães, which will be featured at the Expo/Bundy Station. Her original artwork, And Here I Will Stay, began as a multimedia artwork including beads, yarn, felt, fabric paint and acrylic paint on paper.
Artwork Description: And Here I Will Stay is a series of images that convey the history and vitality of the area surrounding the station, visually united across the artwork panels by a flowing sash. At the entrances to the platform, panels will depict the agricultural uses that once existed in the area and images of the present day urban city. The front side of the sash presents images of fabric patterns from a wide range of cultural traditions quilted together with light blue yarn signifying the Expo Line. The back side of the sash portrays an abstracted map of the area.
At art panel locations along the platform, people, restaurants and theatres are the focus–drawing attention to the many different kinds of individuals and businesses that have contributed to the growth of the area. In the artist’s own words, “By including images of the diverse existing community as well as a large veteran population, the pieces will offer a sense of warmth, youthfulness, innovative energy and historical record.”
The mixed media paintings were translated into hand-painted ceramic and glass mosaic artwork panels by the artwork fabricator. The eight panels will be placed in steel frames and installed at the Expo/Bundy Station in highly visible places for transit riders and others passing by the station.
De Magalhães is thoroughly involved in the process to ensure that the hand-painted ceramic and hand-set glass mosaic is an accurate translation of her original artwork.
High resolution scans and scaled match prints of de Magalhães’ artwork were sent to Mayer of Munich, an artwork fabricator specializing in glass mosaic. The artist’s original mixed media paintings on paper were translated onto ceramic tile and embedded with hand-set glass mosaic inlays. The ceramic tile went through a water-jet-process that uses high pressure water to create negative spaces for the mosaic inlays.
The mosaic consists of colorful hand-cut pieces of “cake-glass,” which is formed when liquid molten glass is being poured to form a layer 1-2 centimeters thick. Once it has cooled, this smalti “cake” is broken into desired sizes. Smalti is said to have originated in the Byzantine era, in what is now Italy, about the 6th century A.D.
Fired ceramic tile and glass mosaic are highly durable materials often used in transit environments all over the world.
Other Expo Line artwork fabrication stories on the Source:
Local Color by Constance Mallinson (26th St/Bergamot Station)
Artist Educators by Shizu Saldamando (Palms Station)
Right Above The Right-Of-Way by Susan Logoreci (Expo/Sepulveda Station)
L.A. Sonata by Judithe Hernandez (Downtown Santa Monica Station)
Enjoy photos documenting the fabrication process below: