People explore the visual arts for many different reasons. Some explore them as a hobby, a way of relaxing and having fun after the busy week. Others explore them as a business, an alternative means of producing an income and escaping the nine to five. While still others explore them as a means of expression, for the story the art conveys, and for the unique experience each person has with a piece.
The last is true for Patrizia Brasch, a mosaic artist out of Toronto, Canada, who strives to “explore the ‘human condition, to convey a narrative, a message or an emotion,” with every piece of mosaic art she creates.
Patrizia began her journey with the visual arts back when she was a teenager. At just 15, an eccentric art teacher imbued her with a love for everything artistic, from drawing to painting to art history. Her path was set. But it wasn’t until 2004, after a long corporate career and exploring many different art mediums, that she finally took a mosaic course and discovered her true passion.
“Mosaic is the best way I know for expressing myself, for expressing an idea or emotion, or making a statement.”
She took workshops with many contemporary mosaic artists, like Tanya McFarlane, Dianne Sonnenberg, Erin Pankratz, Kelly Knickerbocker, Martin Cheek, and Michele Petno. And from each artist, she learned something new and developed her skills further on her mosaic journey.
She bought her own tools and materials and started working from home, and in her home studio, she created new and original mosaic pieces.
Patrizia had begun a new chapter in her own story, one that would give life to new expressions of visual art and new expressions of emotion, both her own and her clients’.
As a mixed-media mosaic artist, Patrizia works primarily with stained glass. But to bring out the true expression of her work and create her geometric/abstract expressionist mosaic art pieces, she combines the stained glass with various other materials.
What really sets her work apart is her commitment to upcycling; the process of taking old materials and giving them a new life and purpose in her art.
It all started when she found a rusted hex nut on the side of the road and “knew it needed to be in a mosaic.”
From there, she started searching for other corroded metals and putting them into her work. And, by pairing these discarded metal bits with gold, silver, or semi-precious stones, she can “give the ‘useless’ a new purpose and presence.”
With each piece of mosaic art, Patrizia is transforming the stories of what we would call junk and making sure that they get their happily ever after. Instead of lying ignored on the side of the road, they hang admired in collections around the world.
“I am inspired by and create mosaic art to express the wide range of emotions and sensitivities we all experience as human beings.”
For Patrizia, her mosaic art is a means not only of expression but also connection. We all experience a range of emotions and struggles, and through the visual arts we can express and address these emotions. She sees art as one way we can find “some calm in our everyday lives”.
And where has Patrizia’s story led her? How has that 15-year-old girl grown as an artist? What became of that woman who quit her corporate job back in 2004 and took her first mosaic course?. Since then, she’s accomplished much with her mosaic art.
She has had her pieces included in juried exhibits, art shows, and galleries in Toronto, Hamilton, and Kingston. Her work is in private collections around the world, including Canada, the United States, Germany, and Italy.
She participated as one of five Toronto-based mosaic artists in creating “The Welcome Wall” in the Victoria Park subway station in Toronto, a 303 square foot mural with over 275,000 pieces of glass.
But most recently in 2020, she became a founding member of Ontario Mosaic Artists.
With like-minded friends, she established OMA to build and strengthen the community of mosaic artists in Ontario and to promote the art form through regular exhibitions of contemporary mosaic art. After two successful exhibitions in 2021 and 2022, OMA is already busy planning for its next exhibition in 2024.
For those following in her footsteps, Patrizia recommends taking a workshop or a class to learn the basics.
Classes helped her move beyond her safe zone, to experiment with different materials, and to keep creating even when pieces didn’t work out how she intended.
“Remember to have fun and enjoy your creativity.”
You can follow Patrizia’s journey on her website and through updates on Instagram. Her work is available for purchase, and she also accepts commissions.
Whatever your passion is in the visual arts, the future is looking brighter than ever. The story is just beginning. And artists around the world like Patrizia Brasch are all pieces in a beautiful mosaic that make up life.
So, take the chance to explore the human condition and convey your own narrative today with some beautiful mosaic art.
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