Martin Cheek is a professional mosaicist and author of five mosaic art books including Making Mosaics, the first mosaic art book that I ever purchased. The lively orange fish on the cover jumped out at me from the store end cap and started my foray into mosaic art.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Martin a few questions about mosaic art and he was nice enough to oblige even though he was in the middle of teaching his Mosaic Master Class.
Martin Cheek Interview - Part 1
Which of your mosaic works do you favor the most and why?
I produce about 50 mosaics a year, one a week on average I would say. Most are nothing special but occasionally I produce what I call my ‘stepping stone’ mosaics: those that allow me to move forward and progress, either technically or artistically. The last one of any great significance was ‘Sara’s Butterfly Dance’. (Installed at King's Hospital, London)
|Sara's Butterfly Dance, 100cm x 72cm © Martin Cheek|
And more recently the ‘Catfish’ series was a bit of a breakthrough. (see below)
All that said, my relationship with my work is in the making of them. Once finished, I rarely have any emotional tie to them.
On your website, it says that you work on about 10 mosaics at a time. Why do you work this way?
Well, even when I am busy with commissioned work I like to keep my personal work moving. Right now I have more than 20 mosaics at various stages of development and I will work on whichever one I fancy on the day, depending on my mood - I like that.
I can have an easy day if I feel lazy, making something where I know what I am doing; or tackle something new and challenging if I am feeling up to it and ready for a fight!
Generally speaking, my ideas come in series form. I take a simple idea, say my ‘Catfish’ and work it up. One mosaic doesn’t say it all, doesn’t explain it or solve the riddle.
For example the first one (Catfish -shown above) made me realize that the cat’s cheeks could be prawns, so I made this one as a continuation or progression:
|Pink Catfish, 30cm x 30cm, © Martin Cheek|
|Fishface, 30cm x 30cm © Martin Cheek|
...being completely made up of fish. I still prefer the first one though.
It’s also the case that I struggle with realism, so I usually have a piece of realism slowly creeping on. I’ll pick it up when I feel confident enough to tackle it.
What is the one technique that you believe every mosaic artist should try to master?
Stay tuned for the remainder of the interview - coming soon!