Hamilton, Ohio USA (greater Cincinnati area)
LMA: Tell us a little about your artistic background. Do you have any professional art training?
Lori: I studied art and environment design at Bowling Green State University earning a Bachelors of Fine Arts in environmental design. In my studies I took classes in ceramics and stained glass, water colors and exhibit and display design to name a few.
Rain on Main by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: How did you get started in mosaics?
Lori: In 2000 I was homeschooling my children and teach art to students in a home school co-op. I wanted to explore the world of mosaics with these children. So I taught myself how to make mosaics and then the children in my art classes. In 2012 I lead a co-op group of my students in creating a large scale mosaic pig for Cincinnati ArtWorks Big Pig Gig public art project. That is where my complete love of public arts began.
KanSOWsky by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: How long have you been creating mosaic, art, etc?
Lori: I have been creating art all my life but I fell in love with mosaics and have been exploring this art form for 20 years.
LMA: Did you start with mosaic or did you work in other mediums before working in mosaic?
Lori: I have done many mural paintings, set and drama building, designing and paintings. Many large scale art banners and backdrops along with acrylic paintings. But I primarily work in mosaics but I also love a challenge and will take on a new design project even if it is not a mosaic. Most recently I designed and painted a 16 foot long bar top for a local new Barcade opening in our town called “Pinball Garage”.
Lori painting the side of a three story building as a mural artists with StreetSpark - "Delicate Balance of Progress"
LMA: What about mosaics resonates with you?
Lori: I love the whole process and the details of piecing together broken pieces into a new image. Plus I loved puzzles as a kid and thrill of finding the perfect piece that fits together perfectly is a thrill for me.
LMA: What is your favorite part of the mosaic process?
Lori: I love all the steps of mosaic making even the grouting day.
Sephora by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: Do you have a favorite subject matter? What is it?
Lori: As for subject matter, I have a few favorite such and animals portraits, architectural images, nature, floral ,whimsical and abstracts.
LMA: Where do you find inspiration for subject matter?
Lori: A lot of my inspiration comes from photography and capturing a special moment in time. I just got a new camera and I am having fun learning how to capture new subject matters for future mosaics.
Alexander by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: Do you have favorite materials you like to work with? What are they?
Lori: My favorite material to work with is sheet stained glass. I live fairly near some glass factories and like to buy direct from them. I also love glass tiles. I love the look at smalti and would love to work with this material more in future projects. But I have used broken dishes, unglazed porcelain tiles and even plastic recycled bottle caps to create mosaics.
LMA: What is your favorite thing you have created and why?
Lori: This is a hard one. They all become your babies. I did a series of large mosaics based on local art and architecture from my community in Hamilton Ohio. I love doing pet portraits too.
Butler County Courthouse by Lori Kay Farr
Alex on High Street by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: What would you like to learn/add to your mosaics experience?
Lori: I would love to take a class and study the use of a hammer and hardie with smalti.
LMA: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of mosaics?
Lori: Most challenging is photographing my glass mosaics and capturing the true color and sparkle of iridescent glass.
Wilby and Elroy by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: What is your least favorite thing about mosaics?
Lori: Least favorite is pricing and cleaning up after grouting.
LMA: Tell us a little about your studio and attach a photo or 2 of your studio space:
Lori: My studio: I work in my home studio which is on the main floor of our home and I can be near my family and kitty cats. I usually only work on one project at a time. I am a super organized with my tessera and like to focus on one project at a time if I can. I do have a large three car garage which I have build some workspace to grout, work on large scale projects and even taught some weekend workshops.
I also teach mosaics at our local art center The Fitton Center for Creative Arts and I have a big studio space there where I teach several times a week to local adult students and even our local Boys and Girls Club. (Of course with the pandemic this have not fully open up again)
One Giant Pounce for Bearcats Nation by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: Do you listen to music while creating (what type/bands)or do you prefer the TV(what shows/genera/channel)? Silence? Pod cast? Etc.?
Lori: I listen to many things from local talk radio, podcasts, to my favorite band The Elms. ( you really should check out this band especially if you love be good Midwest rock and roll. I also love to watch old sitcoms and tv shows while I work. Many times my husband will join me in my studio to watch our shows while I work. Important to have a comfy chair so family and friends and visit you studio and catch up on your days.
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings?
Lori: Be Creative every day to find your joy.
Tapestry: Community Woven Together by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?
Lori: Don't left fear of failure to stop you from trying. I turned 50 a few years ago and decided after being a mom, homeschool teacher, art teacher I wanted to say yes to opportunities even if I was afraid to fail. By saying yes, and taking a chance it opened many doors for me and helped me build lasting connections with my community and artists. These connections have given me some great opportunities from teaching mosaic classes, creating public art and even public speaking opportunities in our community and on tv. Just jump in and try.
LMA: Tell us about your single greatest mosaic moment:
Lori: My greatest moment, is just like a mosaic. Many small accomplishments that all together make me smile. But I would have to say the opportunity to create public art. I have had several. From creating two large scale pigs for Artwork Cincinnati, leading and teaching youth apprentices how to create mosaics and installing 34 panels along a busy street. Then in 2017 painting the side of a three story building as a mural artists with StreetSpark. In 2019 I created a six foot tall University Of Cincinnati Bearcat to honor John Glen and the 50th anniversary of the space walk. And just this past few months I made a 8’ by 9’ mosaic mural for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens using recycled bottle caps from around the United States. I had people sending me boxes for weeks. And just last week I completed 20 mosaic pavers. ( total 34 square feet) for the Kingwood Center Gardens new welcome center. They will be installed next week. But all in all I find the most joy from my public art projects.
African Penguins on the Coast by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: Do you have a favorite color palette?
Lori: I love color and definitely love beach inspired colors. No beige here.
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists in your work?
Lori: I admire so many artists including your work Cherie. But if I had to pick three that inspire me:
- Giulio Menossi. He made me fall in love with smalti and mosaics in general.
- Donna Van Hooser she inspired me to create pet portraits and she is a true master.
- Christian Dallas, he is a local mural artist that I just love his work. His florals are stunning and I I can see how they would translate to a mosaic. His work can be seen at his Instagram Christian Dallas Art.
Waves of Compassion by Lori Kay Farr
LMA: What made you want to participate in the Diversity Mural?
Lori: When I saw your call for hearts for a community public mural. This project spoke to my heart. I thought it was a perfect project to introduce to my mosaic students and we gather together at the Fitton Center to create hearts for your mural. The sense of community and connecting that was created through this project has inspired me to reach out to our local community in creating a similar type of project when every one can contribute to a large project. In this crazy world and especially now with social distancing it is important to find ways to feel connected and make an effort to build and lift each other up.
LMA: What is the meaning behind your heart you created for the Diversity Mural?
Lori: Mine hearts were in honor of my brother Dennis Harris.
Heart for Diversity Mural Orlando - by Lori Kay Farr