This project involved creating a 32 foot design of a Spanish-style Gecko climbing a new apartment building in downtown Sacramento, California about 4 blocks from the state Capitol. I worked from home constructing the mosaics on fiberglass mesh in my home studio. My work space involved a 4′ square table in which I would piece together 3′ x 3′ sections of the mosaic on mesh and then cut each 3 foot section into 4 sections 18″ each. The whole process took around 2 months.
Then, when the corner of the building to be adorned was ready for the tile, I set out with my assistant Dylan Tellesen to climb the admittedly scary scaffolding and set up a stencil. The same paper template that I used under the mesh as a guide (rendered smooth and un-pixelated by fellow designer Suzy Tolen) was taped back together and cut along the entire perimeter to serve as a stencil. It took us the entire (unfortunately breezy) day to tape up the oversized stencil around the many scaffolding wires and spray paint the border to serve as a guide for where to place the tiles.
Let me take this time to tell you about the terrifying shakiness and height of the scaffolding. Climbing out of windows onto loose boards with a sheer fall one foot gap was not my cup of tea. I was also convinced that since I needed to climb the narrow foot space corners of the scaffolding to get from one level to the next that I needed small , flexible foot wear. These corner sections were often bound together with twisted pieces of scrap wire. See pictures here of the install: flickr.com/photos/robinindaráTo the chagrin of the work crew, I showed up in my tennis shoes for the first few days even though I had recently purchased some steel toed boots. But I finally adapted and was soon scrambling between the levels in my clunky boots and hardhat.
Over the next few weekends my crew and I applied the swatches of tiled mesh often having to make adjustments for unplanned window trim and scaffolding wire that was in the way of where the tile needed to be. With a few scary high-wind days, and some laughable stories of stucco chunks raining down from the roof we grouted and finished and went home. At this point we only had really close up pictures taken from the scaffolding. Weeks lateráthe big green tarp came down so you could catch a glimpse, and then the scaffolding came down too. Yay! Now we can see it! This gecko/blue-belly lizard hybrid (mostly because of the difference between the front and back feet), is outlined in glow-in-the-dark glass tiles, which emit a brilliant blue at night.áTo enjoy in person, please visit the corner of 16th and O streets in Sacramento.