"Permanent Wave"


Comfort Station mural, from 20 feet.


Date:  1997


Dimensions:

32 ft. x 9 ft.


Media:

One-inch porcelain tile


Commissioned By:

City of Manhattan Beach


Location:

Manhattan Beach Pier Comfort Station

Manhattan Beach Boulevard at the Pier

Manhattan Beach, California 90266


Description:

A mural covering the outdoor public Comfort Station (showers) located at the pier on Manhattan Beach. The mural features five distinct "keys" from various cultures, each representing earth and water, and a large wave motif, all in one-inch porcelain tile.

Documentation:

See Artist's Narrative below; video available.


DETAILS








View of Comfort Station from Manhattan Beach Pier

 

Artists Narrative

I’ve had a long-time preoccupation with the origins and applications of multi-cultural patterns. Keeping in mind that an aim of this proposal was to reflect the diversity and culture of the people of California and the users of the Manhattan Beach area, I approached this project with an eye toward overall graphic beauty and the incorporation of the dynamic between water and earth. With these goals in mind, I chose to use the selected graphic solutions, applying very specific materials to bring to life the diverse cultures of the community. Specifically, the designs chosen add a permanent, beautiful element while illustrating an equally elegant geo-social graphic.

For the Comfort Station I envisioned and realized a colorful tile wall mosaic consisting of six cultural "keys" -- graphic elements representing earth and water produced by different cultures throughout history and represented here in complementing colors, crowned by crashing waves and sea foam. I employed the application of a porcelain-bodied, non-glazed commercial tile in a 1" module to create a very colorful wall mosaic. The mosaic, (approximately 300 square feet, roughly 9’ by 32’ on the west facing exterior wall surface of the Comfort Station) both aesthetically and practically, connects the community with its most dramatic aspect of the ocean’s influence.

The design for the Comfort Station mosaic, derived from pattern, illustrates the complete conceptual cycle of the kinetic beauty of the ocean. The image visually combines the motions of sand, wind and water into a tapestry in one-inch porcelain tile.  This tapestry illuminates several archetypal global weaving patterns and their aesthetic relationship to water and our planet. Color is utilized extensively throughout this mosaic technique to present a completely unique illustration. This mosaic has been developed graphically to function primarily from two distinct viewpoints:  from a distance (the seaside/pier) and close-up (while showering or passing by).  From the pier, the viewer is exposed to a colorful, visually intriguing array of patterns and waves breaking on the beach; the waves and foam appear visually complete, as a wall mural.  In close proximity, the viewer enjoys the enormous patterns and colors below the wave motif and is offered the wave and foam graphic in relative abstraction, thus illustrating a key principle in this work--our overview in terms of a micro and macro appreciation of the planet.

For the site I chose one-inch porcelain tile, an extremely durable material, selected for its extreme longevity and for its being virtually maintenance-free.

See also:
“Cultural Wave”


This commission is made possible with the support of the City of Manhattan Beach.

 
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