A glimpse into “High Prismatic,” a glass mosaic artwork for the future Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station in DTLA

Pearl C. Hsiung with the final mosaic translation of her original artwork after fabrication reviews from a distance during the pandemic.

Pearl C. Hsiung with the final mosaic translation of her original artwork after fabrication reviews from a distance during the pandemic.

Meet Pearl C. Hsiung, commissioned artist for the future Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station, part of the Regional Connector that will create three new light rail stations to provide a seamless journey to and through DTLA on the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines.

A dynamic landscape rendered in mosaic will energize the future Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station. High Prismatic is 61 feet high and 17 feet wide and will tower over the station’s prominent concourse elevator lobby. 

Pearl’s original painting — titled High Prismatic — explodes with clouds of Sumi ink, an eruption of squeegeed enamel paint, rich washes of watercolor and a spray paint speckled sky.  

Over the last year, the painting’s glistening colors and textures have been carefully translated into glass mosaic by skilled artisans at Mosaicos Venecianos de Mexico in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The studio works with professional artists to create artworks for public environments.   

The artwork references the constant geological, social and urban change that Bunker Hill has undergone, as well as the artist’s Taiwanese-American identity and “polychromatic” experience of growing up in L.A. 

“I wanted to celebrate the disparate yet harmonious cosmos of images, languages, cultures and relationships that make up the history of this region, its ever churning present and endlessly shifting future,” states Hsiung. 

Detail of original painting created for the artwork’s design phase.

Detail of original painting created for the artwork’s design phase.

Mosaic as an art form has been traced back as far as the fourth millennium B.C. to the Temple of Uruk in Mesopotamia and the ancient Greek city of Pella. Mosaics were also found in Pre-Columbian cultures, which decorated objects using shells, mother-of-pearl and semi-precious stones. Because glass mosaic is highly durable, materials are often used in artworks in transit systems.  

Over 1 million hand-made and cut-glass pieces of various sizes create the final artwork seen here at Mosaicos Venecianos de Mexico during fabrication.

Over 1 million hand-made and cut-glass pieces of various sizes create the final artwork seen here at Mosaicos Venecianos de Mexico during fabrication.

A key step in advance of final assembly and installation is the dry-fit process. Staff from Metro Art & Design recently laid out the fabricated glass mosaic for review with the artist. The goal of the processes is to confirm the artwork fulfills the original artwork design and that all pieces are present before final installation in the station.  

Here’s a quick glimpse into the dry-fit – and more to come!

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