Last week I loaded up my car with tiles, mortar, tools, etc. and set out to FINALLY start laying tiles on the wall. I knew I would need to sand off some paint and “rough” the wall in order for the mortar to stick to the wall surface, but upon closer inspection, I realized there was about 1/4 inch of paint on the wall which meant I needed to chip away at it. Chipping away paint takes a chisel, a hammer, and a whole lot of time. Luckily, I am on sabbatical and time is abundant, so I sat down on that sidewalk and chipped away, later hiring a day laborer named Rigo to help me.
Once the paint was all chipped away, I was ready to tile. I knew it would take a ton of time to lay the tile because mosaic work is time consuming, but what I hadn’t planned on was all the folks that stop and want to talk about the project, about their families, the neighborhood, LA life, Cuban politics, the value of eating garlic on a regular basis, tourist season in Croatia, the best deal on radishes, etc. Honestly, loads of people have already stopped to find out what I am doing and to chat for awhile. I am really enjoying meeting people and hearing their stories. I think this is all a part of a public art piece. I was originally going to assemble the wall sections in my garage and then bolt them on, but I am glad I decided to work on site. I like hearing what people respond to, what they like, what colors interest them, etc. It’s slow going, but this is the joy of a sabbatical. I’m always pressed for time when I work at my regular job, in a hurry, and multitasking, but right now I have the luxury of sitting on the sidewalk on Logan Street off Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, Los Angeles placing one tile at a time on a wall that could sure use a little beauty and I am enjoying it immensely. It will get done on time…..whenever that is.