LMA: How did you get started in mosaics?
Lynn: Growing up, I experimented with many different mediums. Some of my fondest memories are of getting to buy some new pastels or paints to play around with. As a teenager and young adult, I fell head over heels for photography, and I finished many university-level photography classes, developed film, made prints and slides, and took 35mm images for years and years. While my children were young, I continued taking photographs, and also began doing needlework and fiber art. During this time, I moved to Australia as an expat. While living there from 2001-2006, I explored many public mosaic installations and Aboriginal galleries and became fascinated by the depth, pattern, and texture present in the both the mosaics and the indigenous Aboriginal style of art. I was immensely drawn to the tactile and reflective properties of mosaic. So, as I learn best by doing, I began to study mosaic as a medium by creating various types of mosaic, closely concentrating on the work of prominent mosaic artists at the time like Martin Cheek and Sonia King. I read and re-read dozens of books on mosaic, committing myself to years of study and practice. My first pieces were glass-on-glass mosaics, and over the years, my work has evolved to be more sculptural and abstract.
Resilience by Lynn Monet Bevino
Resilience(detail) by Lynn Monet Bevino
LMA: What is your favorite part of the mosaic process?
Lynn: The most thrilling part of any project for me is the initial inspiration. My pieces are materials-driven, meaning my concepts originate primarily from seeing a particular color, mineral, natural object, or other tesserae that I feel drawn to work with. For example, I recently was able to obtain an exciting order of unusual cullet, the leftover scrap from the glass industry, and was inspired by its unusual color and translucency. It was the most intriguing shade of green! I didn't know what I wanted to do with it, only that I wanted to spend time looking at and handling that gorgeous satiny color, and wanted to express that same love and fascination with the viewer. I began working with the cullet in a sort of organic andamento, and instantly a color palette and vision for the final piece started to form and a new work was born. I like to focus on the impact of the color, the flow, and the textural statement of the work, and the piece builds intuitively over several months. That's when it gets most difficult. It's much harder for me to find the motivation to finish a piece than it is for me to begin one!
Anima Scindere by Lynn Monet Bevino
Anima Scindere(detail) by Lynn Monet Bevino
LMA: What is your favorite thing you have created and why?
Lynn: My favorite piece so far has been “Anime Scindere,” an abstract sculptural mosaic I created and worked on over a period of my life that was quite challenging. I am still learning from that piece, several years after its completion. Birthed at a time of great loss, transition, and growth, the work resembles a monstrous “hand” crushing in upon itself. The action of the piece seems agonizing and painful, yet the colors used, pale green and white, reflect newness and life. Even within the depths of the piece, one can find light and sparkle. The lesson is that even in the midst of one's soul tearing open, (the literal translation of the title, “Anime Scindere,”) there is still tenacity of spirit, the life, light, and beauty that no one else and no circumstance can extinguish.
Anime Scindere(top view) by Lynn Monet Bevino
LMA: What would you like to learn/add to your mosaics experience?
Lynn: In another life, I would have liked to create very large-scale sculptures and installations. My primary goal now is to continue exploring sculpture and incorporating natural elements such as minerals, coral, metal, and glass cullet to create organic shapes. Unfortunately, I suffer from fairly debilitating arthritis, so I am limited in the amount of time spent working and the amount of lifting I can do. I would like to improve my efficiency and ability to continue working with heavy pieces and heavy tess, so that I can pursue my passion even as my physical challenges increase. Fortunately, my creativity enables me to come up with some pretty original methods of addressing my needs. I have been known to utilize furniture, pillows, and even waste baskets to hold my work at just the right height and angle to allow me to work more easily. I know that pain is an issue that plagues many artists, and it is difficult enough to overcome the psychological blocks that creatives must regularly face, but couple that with physical issues and it can be enough to stop an artist from pursuing her calling. This is where transparency and community comes in. It is vitally important to share your struggles with other artists, to feel your day-to-day trials and triumphs with your tribe, and to know you are not alone. That's why I am so grateful for my close circle of fellow artists both locally and on social media. It is a vital connection and it's necessary for all of us to ensure our community thrives both as individual artists and as a whole.
Blue Star by Lynn Monet Bevino
Blue Star(detail) by Lynn Monet Bevino
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?
Lynn: Let go of perfection. Perfectionism is one of the most significant single things that has threatened my artistic journey. I have always struggled with it, and it rears its ugly head often during my studio time. Sadly, many important books and courses on mosaic can often bring someone like me to a complete and paralyzing halt. Wanting too much to follow the rules, do the “right” method, be a good student, and adhere to the current expectations can freeze ideas before they can even form. The most heartbreaking thing is the stifling of one's own creativity, one's own voice, and being afraid to try something new. As a kid, I was always chastised by parents and teachers for “coloring outside the lines.” I wanted to color outside the lines! Color outside the lines, I say! Now THAT'S creativity!
Red Tide by Lynn Monet Bevino
Red Tide(detail) by Lynn Monet Bevino
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists in your work?
Lynn: Julee Latimer, Lynne Chinn, and Zemer Peled, three sculptural artists whose work never fails to excite me! I have been following Julee's ( juleelatimer.com ) work since the early days of my mosaic journey, and I think her influence can definitely be seen in my sculptural mosaics. Her book, https://www.amazon.com/Sculptural-Secrets-Mosaics-Creating-Application/dp/076435244X “Sculptural Secrets for Mosaics: Creating 3-D Bases for Mosaic Application,” is a gorgeous and very helpful guide for the process of creating mosaic sculpture. As a truly talented artist, Julee's body of work is evolving, expanding to include other media and techniques, which have grown from her knowledge of mosaics and continues to birth new and exciting art pieces.
Likewise, Lynne Chinn's ( www.lcmosaics.com) fascinating abstract mosaic pieces always thrill me and get my creative wheels spinning. Her use of shape, color, and texture makes my heart skip a beat and her pieces are endlessly inspiring.
While not technically a mosaic artist, sculptor and ceramic artist Zemer Peled
( www.zemerpeled.com ) is one of my favorite artists, and, inspired by her piece, “Large Peony and Peeping Tom,” I was stirred to physically attempt my first large textural piece. Her work is amazing, and she continues to be a source of stimulation and inspiration for me. All three of these extremely talented and successful artists are also powerful women with technical expertise and business savvy. They are motivating and important models for any female artist, both emerging and established.
“Aphrodite,” by Julee Latimer
“Arabesque” by Lynn Chinn
“Large Peony and Peeping Tom,” by Zemer Peled
LMA: What is the meaning behind your heart you created for the Diversity Mural?
Lynn: Over the years, I have been involved in numerous collaborative mosaic projects, including the Diversity Mural. The desire that drives me to contribute to these installations is the same that made me want to take part in this project, as well. The mosaic community is incredibly close and supportive, and collaborating with community members to make a statement about love, tolerance, compassion, support, equality, peace, respect, and solidarity in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shootings was a logical and beautiful choice. Many other collaborative art projects also convey similar unity, and it is an effective way of both supporting the community in which the project will be installed, and the community of artists contributing to the collaboration. I am currently preparing to exhibit my own group project, “Communicable,” which has brought together many artists from around the country and the world to share their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic with one another and the viewing public. Group collaborations such as these are a meaningful and important way of bringing out artist's voices to address a topic contemporaneously, as well as a powerful method of marking and remembering powerful moments of our shared history. https://www.facebook.com/groups/communicable