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 the previous Source post on artist Constance Mallinson’s artwork at 26th St/Bergamot Station.
Enjoy photos documenting the fabrication process below:
The three photos above show details of the original graphite pencil sketches of “artist educators” translated into silk-screen onto ceramic tile.