Aikia’s Peacock – An Off The Wall Mosaic Masterpiece

This year’s “Off The Wall” mosaic project at Oak Park Apartment’s newest property, located at 401 – 403 Washington Boulevard, is complete and presented more of a challenge than the mosaics of earlier years.

This year we went bold.  Our Washington Boulevard property had an empty brick expanse on the front of the building that screamed for some Off The Wall love and attention.

We, at OPA, love the artistry and design of the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Off The Wall masterpieces so we felt that adding the art to the front of this 1950’s California-style apartment would enhance the look of the building.

Yet, the reality is 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 mosaics adhered to the buildings’ bricks – not a big deal if the artwork is on the back of the apartment but something we needed to consider since the design would be a front and center focus.

How do we adhere the tile design to the front of the building so it’s secure, doesn’t negatively impact the mosaic design and, if ever needed, we could remove while still preserving the design’s integrity?

Collaboration was key to finding a solution.

Master artist Carolyn Elaine and Oak Park Apartments co-owner Bob Planek joined forces to make sure that this year’s project would work both creatively and be engineeringly workable.

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.

Aikia & Carolyn at the 2016 Off The Wall dedication

peacock is a symbol of “integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we show our true colors”.  These are the qualities that inspired this year’s masterpiece to be named in honor of assistant master artist, Aikia.  

Aikia has spent many years mentoring the programs’ teen artists as they reach their full potential as they take part in the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Off The Wall summer project.