I was recently commissioned to create the artwork for two large, permanent tile murals for the Paseo Nuevo Mall in Santa Barbara, CA. The project is entitled "Love Letters" and is a collaboration with Pacific Retail and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara.
About the Project:
"Love Letters", by Cassandra C. Jones, is a site-specific tile mural located at the North Court Entrance, on the Parking Level, at the Paseo Nuevo Mall in Santa Barbara. Based on the history and contemporary times of the city and its surrounding areas, Jones draws from her experience as a long-term resident of California's Central Coast.
Digitally transferred and baked onto white porcelain, Jones's photo-based collages are inspired by the Spanish and Mexican tiles that are a large part of the visual narrative and architectural landscape in the area. She combines one of the oldest forms of mud-and-fire with contemporary modes of collage and printing technology, only possible and available in the digital age.
There are 36 unique compositions in the mix of 230 printed tiles, which span two facing walls. Each collage is a kaleidoscope of objects, Spanish guitars, surfboards, beachballs, hula hoops, latex balloons, confetti eggs, and the fans held by flamenco dancers. Relationships with these simple items are rich and complex. The objects themselves embody ritual and desire, and denote a sense of place – personally, regionally, and culturally.
In each tile, Jones explores and embraces the nuance and poetics of such imagery. Like stringing words together to compose a love letter, she weaves and layers these potent objects in such a way to express affection for this place that she calls home.
The result is a narrative that invites the viewer to explore the piece on both macro and micro levels. One can experience it as a whole at a distance, or up close, focusing on single tiles. No matter where someone stands, Love Letters is intended to be an uplifting space that offers something new to discover from every vantage point.