This year’s “Off The Wall” mosaic project, located at Oak Park Apartment’s 401 – 403 Washington Boulevard property, is complete and quite honestly presented more of a challenge then the mosaics of previous years.
This year we were going bold – our newly acquired and recently rehabbed property at 401 – 403 had a brick expanse on the front of the building that screamed for some Off The Wall love and attention.
We, at OPA, absolutely love the artistry and design of the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Off The Wall masterpieces so we felt that adding the art on front could only enhance the look of the building.
Yet the reality is that we may not own the building forever. Future owners may have other ideas on how they want the front of their building to look so, if ever that time came, we wanted to be able to remove, relocate and protect the beauty of our peacock.
In past years the mosaic tiles were adhered directly to the brick of the building – not a big deal if the art work is on the side or the back of the building but definitely something that needed to be considered since the design was going to be a front and center focus.
How do we adhere the tile design to the front of the building so it is secure, doesn’t negatively impact the design and, if ever needed, could be removed while still preserving the design’s integrity?
Well collaboration was key in coming up with a solution. Master artist, Carolyn Elaine and Oak Park Apartments co-owner, Bob Planek joined forces to ensure that this year’s project would work both creatively as well as being engineeringly feasible.
And boy did their teamwork pay off! Using concrete slabs as the base, the mosaics were constructed on seven individual pieces, framed in aluminum and then placed together – and wow we are proud as, well, a peacock at the end results.
A peacock is a symbol of “integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavor to show our true colors”. It is these qualities that inspired this year’s masterpiece to be named in honor of assistant master artist, Aikia. Aikia has dedicated herself year after year to mentoring the teen artists as they reach the full potential of their artistic talents through the Off The Wall summer project.