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People in design – Isaiah Zagar, masterful mosaic muralist

Today was a day for browsing the web for new material, organising files, planning editorials… all in all a very efficient and structured day. I have to do that once in a while to remain sane. And in all my need for order and focus I happened upon pure pleasure, on the surface not orderly or structured but in the end executed with vision and planning and most certainly passion. All of this after a day of innumerable tweets about our blogg-off on the topic of “What is successful design?”, this was refreshing, inspiring and to the point.

Isaiah Zagar is 71 years old and says he might have been an artist since birth. He tells the story of his mother’s reaction when he was given crayons to color on a piece of paper and instead began not just coloring the paper but let his hand and eyes be the guides that led him across the table, then the floor, the refrigerator, the wall and finally the ceiling… where his artistic reverie was interrupted by his mother’s hysterical cries. He says, realising the impact of his action on other human beings was all he needed to know that this was were his path had to lead.

Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural

Influenced by folk artist Clarence Schmidt in 1959 and enforced in his opinion about him in 1961 where a MoMA exhibit “The Art of Assemblage” showcased works of masters like Picasso and Gaudi alongside that of Schmidt, Zagar continued in this vain to this day. He creates mosaic street murals in Philly, the US and for international installations.

Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural

This a detail of a piece done on Randolph Court.

Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural

Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Garden on the 1,000 block of South Street in Philadelphia is a maze of ornately designed mosaics with inlaid pieces of poetry. I know he says he’s inspired by Schmidt, but I’m pretty sure I see more than a little Gaudi here.

Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural

Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural

The collection of his work of 40 years seems endless and each piece holds new visual and contextual treasures to discover. So to all you mom’s out there: When you’re kid is standing on the table coloring the ceiling, may want to go easy. See what happens when you let the sweet little ones color outside the lines.

  • http://www.9designinteriors.com Joanne Fairmont Yinger

    Really quite beautiful. Can’t wait to share with my latest client, Heritage Flooring (@HeritageFloorin), whose family is tile setters and flooring installers. Although one doesn’t need to be in the field to appreciate and delight in these Zagar examples, I know they’ll especially enjoy. Thanks for the link, Modenus.

  • http://www.twitter.com/watson_rick Rick Watson

    Check out Zagar’s new film: http://www.inadreammovie.com

  • bill deja

    Beautiful work


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