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The Welcome Wall

July 11, 2011

Last winter I was invited to take part in a mosaic collective to help with the fabrication of an 8 x 36 foot wall for one of Toronto’s subway stations. It was my first freelance gig in the 21st century that had absolutely nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer all day long. A decade ago I may not have thought that a blessing, but right now, in 2011, I consider any electronic computational timeout to be a moment of bliss.

I should be careful what I wish for I know. However as much as I LOVE graphic design, the modern day version of this vocation often entails spending prolonged hours in cubical confinement – literally and figuratively speaking. Sure, working in the design field occasionally means you get to work in really cool, open spaces that are esthetically attuned to coerce maximum creative flow out of an artists brain, but the fact of the matter is that you are still captive in front of a backlit cube that invisibly splatters radioactive material in your face all day long. An alternative solution to cubical confinement is mobile computing. Even still, the term implies office mobility with which your cube resides, therefore you are still working within a parallelogram. Personally speaking these omnipresent four-corners have worn me down a bit over the years and I’m starting to feel a bit like the Mad Hatter.

Recently while talking to an aspiring young graphic designer I mentioned how I thought the constant requirement to be plugged into electronic tools to create your work was a bit of a downside. I believe the virtual medium had a tendency to limit experimentation while hand multi-medium experimentation can lead to a broader understanding the of the visual problems graphic designers are tasked with solving. She said “are you kidding, that’s what I love about the job!” She literally can’t wait to spend hours upon hours in front of a computer for work. Getting paid to do it was just the icing on the cake. I quietly wondered if this is the collective viewpoint of the next generation, then we may be in trouble but that’s a topic for another post.

The paradigm shift from virtually pushing around square pixels bits to snipping and arranging actual glass bits into opus palladium patterns was the kind of working holiday I craved. There is something to be said for the meditative effects of doing repetitive, monotonous, puzzle-like work. The part of my brain that over analyzes things and sometimes lands me in murky waters fraught with insecurity gets a break as I intently focus on the physical task at hand. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I really enjoyed the gig and thanks to the Mosaic Beach Collective for allowing this square peg into your circle.

The Welcome Wall  – “an enlarged image of tree rings represents the history and growth of the community” is part of a bigger conceptual picture by architect Aniko Mesaros. It is located at the East entrance of the newly renovated TTC’s Victoria Park subway station.

Mosaic tile in progress for Welcome Wall installation.
Subway mosaic wall installation, detail view.
Subway mosaic wall installation, entrance view.
The Mosaic Beach Collective group shot in front of mosaic wall installation.

© 2011, Dana Aubrey

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    July 12, 2011 7:08 am

    Wow that is beautiful! You are unbelievably talented.

    • July 12, 2011 8:22 am

      Hey Steve, thanks for the generous compliment. 🙂 I had a blast working on this project. The design and concept is not mine though, so I can’t take credit for it.

  2. Joan permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:13 pm

    Dear Dana, it was so cool to turn on my computer and find this gem from you today – I really appreciate reading your thoughtful, intelligent comments – they resonated with something here in me, for sure – I love the wall – maybe I’ll take a subway ride some day, just to see it…Joan

  3. Sari permalink
    July 13, 2011 7:18 am

    Very beautiful job Dana.

  4. July 13, 2011 9:03 pm

    WOW!!!! Absolutely beautiful!

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