In the early 2000s, Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana, Albania,
began an effort to paint a swath of the city’s war-damaged apartment buildings
in vibrant color. With energetic blocks--
what Roberta Smith of The New York Times called
“Mondrian in action, proof positive of the transformative power of color”--
the facades took on a new life-sustaining force.
According to Rama, “the ambition to make this city a city of choice
and not of destiny is a utopia in itself.”
Artist Anri Sala documented the vibrant patchwork in his 2003 video, “Gammi i Colori” (“Give Me the Colors”).
Copyright © Caroline Bouton. All rights reserved.
Seen on the Street, Barcelona, 8 x 8", $80
City of Choice, 5 x 5," $75
Sampler, Colors of BCN, sold
A Friend Like You, sold
Compassion Today, 5 x 5", $70
Building Blocks, sold
Underfoot in Barcelona
is a mosaic of pattern, color, and texture
that makes the city unique.
Below my steps,
I found graceful pavers
and a welcome.
Color and imagery transform space.
From urban streets to hospital hallways,
artists can use a real-world canvas
to bring fresh energy to sometimes surprising settings. Inspired by examples near and far,
the Building Blocks pieces explore
this ability of art to revitalize, heal and,
as emphasized by Mural Arts Philadelphia,
Isaiah Zagar has been creating mosaic murals
on Philadelphia’s South Street since 1994,
when he began working in his neighborhood’s vacant lots.
This piece was inspired by Zagar’s nonprofit
community art center and environment,
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.
The preserved site bridges street and sky
with an expanse of unexpected objects,
immersing visitors in a reflective and absorbing world of “visual anecdotes” layered with tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, and mirrors.
I became interested in the creative use of artwork in healthcare settings while volunteering at
the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
with my therapy dog, Valley.
Researching the decor of international
medical facilities for children,
I discovered a vibrant world of natural forms--particularly of animals.
Used to encourage child-friendly spaces,
these representations alleviate stress
by easing way-finding, creating entertainment, and adding a sense of wonder
to a difficult environment.
The inspiration for this piece comes from children’s hospitals all around the world.