Climate in Pieces: From art to action

News Feb 17, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Julie Sperling is happiest when she has a rock in one hand and a hammer in the other.

She has used coal and marble to symbolize the effect of black carbon on the Arctic, seashells and vinegar to demonstrate ocean acidification, and layers of graffiti paint to speak to the complex dialogue surrounding climate change.

She admits it can be painstakingly slow, intricate and intertwined, and fine lines are crucial.

“And I try to layer in meaning wherever I can,” she said.

The local mosaicist is passionate about environmental sustainability, and it’s something she hopes to impart to the community as Kitchener’s 2017 artist in residence.

“I’ve been at the point for a while now where I’ve wanted to get my toes into the teaching waters, so I think this is a good first initiative,” said Sperling, who’s dabbled in mosaics for the past decade, but has become more committed in recent years.

A full-time policy analyst with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Sperling’s art is fuelled by her livelihood.

“With the residency, I’m hoping that goes maybe one step further and people can maybe see how it connects with their everyday lives,” she said.

While many people think of mosaics as tile patterns or decorative wall hangings, Sperling maintains that fine mosaic art can go toe to toe with painting and sculpture.

“It’s just as much of an art form as those are; it’s not just a craft,” she said. “I use the traditional tools the ancient Romans used to break down a vast majority of my materials,” she told city council members during an introductory presentation last week.

Sperling maintains mosaic is a powerful medium for communicating and she’s always intended for her pieces to have a community connection that spurs action. Her solo exhibition Fiddling While Rome Burns at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works was one such effort, but it’s something she’s planning to do here in a much more comprehensive format.

In the year ahead, Sperling plans on recruiting local environmental experts and organizations to speak about a variety of environmental themes.

“My aim would be to connect with the public at various festivals, events, and workshops, where I would hope to inspire them, using my art as a touchstone, to commit to taking at least one action to reduce their climate impact and/or increase their climate resilience,” she proposes.

“I hope to start a conversation and get people thinking, and that’s why I chose to pair the art with my blog posts so they explain and offer a little education along with just seeing the piece.”

Residents are invited to create a small modular mosaic which will later be incorporated into a larger work showing the city’s collective commitment to climate action in for main categories: energy, transportation, food, and storm water. Time permitting, a fifth mosaic about water conservation could be added.

As much as possible, materials used will be foraged and sourced locally to emphasize the connection to place. The community mosaics will be incorporated into a large mosaic showing Kitchener residents’ commitment to climate action, which will be displayed in a final exhibition.

Dates and details about the 2017 artist-in-residence program, facilitated by the city’s Public Art Working Group and arts and culture advisory committee, will be announced in coming weeks.

Those wishing to learn more about the artist and stay updated on the artist-in-residence program can log on to sperlingmosaics.com for more information.

Climate in Pieces: From art to action

Kitchener’s 2017 artist-in-residence to promote environmental stewardship through art

News Feb 17, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Julie Sperling is happiest when she has a rock in one hand and a hammer in the other.

She has used coal and marble to symbolize the effect of black carbon on the Arctic, seashells and vinegar to demonstrate ocean acidification, and layers of graffiti paint to speak to the complex dialogue surrounding climate change.

She admits it can be painstakingly slow, intricate and intertwined, and fine lines are crucial.

“And I try to layer in meaning wherever I can,” she said.

The local mosaicist is passionate about environmental sustainability, and it’s something she hopes to impart to the community as Kitchener’s 2017 artist in residence.

“I’ve been at the point for a while now where I’ve wanted to get my toes into the teaching waters, so I think this is a good first initiative,” said Sperling, who’s dabbled in mosaics for the past decade, but has become more committed in recent years.

A full-time policy analyst with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Sperling’s art is fuelled by her livelihood.

“With the residency, I’m hoping that goes maybe one step further and people can maybe see how it connects with their everyday lives,” she said.

While many people think of mosaics as tile patterns or decorative wall hangings, Sperling maintains that fine mosaic art can go toe to toe with painting and sculpture.

“It’s just as much of an art form as those are; it’s not just a craft,” she said. “I use the traditional tools the ancient Romans used to break down a vast majority of my materials,” she told city council members during an introductory presentation last week.

Sperling maintains mosaic is a powerful medium for communicating and she’s always intended for her pieces to have a community connection that spurs action. Her solo exhibition Fiddling While Rome Burns at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works was one such effort, but it’s something she’s planning to do here in a much more comprehensive format.

In the year ahead, Sperling plans on recruiting local environmental experts and organizations to speak about a variety of environmental themes.

“My aim would be to connect with the public at various festivals, events, and workshops, where I would hope to inspire them, using my art as a touchstone, to commit to taking at least one action to reduce their climate impact and/or increase their climate resilience,” she proposes.

“I hope to start a conversation and get people thinking, and that’s why I chose to pair the art with my blog posts so they explain and offer a little education along with just seeing the piece.”

Residents are invited to create a small modular mosaic which will later be incorporated into a larger work showing the city’s collective commitment to climate action in for main categories: energy, transportation, food, and storm water. Time permitting, a fifth mosaic about water conservation could be added.

As much as possible, materials used will be foraged and sourced locally to emphasize the connection to place. The community mosaics will be incorporated into a large mosaic showing Kitchener residents’ commitment to climate action, which will be displayed in a final exhibition.

Dates and details about the 2017 artist-in-residence program, facilitated by the city’s Public Art Working Group and arts and culture advisory committee, will be announced in coming weeks.

Those wishing to learn more about the artist and stay updated on the artist-in-residence program can log on to sperlingmosaics.com for more information.

Climate in Pieces: From art to action

Kitchener’s 2017 artist-in-residence to promote environmental stewardship through art

News Feb 17, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Julie Sperling is happiest when she has a rock in one hand and a hammer in the other.

She has used coal and marble to symbolize the effect of black carbon on the Arctic, seashells and vinegar to demonstrate ocean acidification, and layers of graffiti paint to speak to the complex dialogue surrounding climate change.

She admits it can be painstakingly slow, intricate and intertwined, and fine lines are crucial.

“And I try to layer in meaning wherever I can,” she said.

The local mosaicist is passionate about environmental sustainability, and it’s something she hopes to impart to the community as Kitchener’s 2017 artist in residence.

“I’ve been at the point for a while now where I’ve wanted to get my toes into the teaching waters, so I think this is a good first initiative,” said Sperling, who’s dabbled in mosaics for the past decade, but has become more committed in recent years.

A full-time policy analyst with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Sperling’s art is fuelled by her livelihood.

“With the residency, I’m hoping that goes maybe one step further and people can maybe see how it connects with their everyday lives,” she said.

While many people think of mosaics as tile patterns or decorative wall hangings, Sperling maintains that fine mosaic art can go toe to toe with painting and sculpture.

“It’s just as much of an art form as those are; it’s not just a craft,” she said. “I use the traditional tools the ancient Romans used to break down a vast majority of my materials,” she told city council members during an introductory presentation last week.

Sperling maintains mosaic is a powerful medium for communicating and she’s always intended for her pieces to have a community connection that spurs action. Her solo exhibition Fiddling While Rome Burns at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works was one such effort, but it’s something she’s planning to do here in a much more comprehensive format.

In the year ahead, Sperling plans on recruiting local environmental experts and organizations to speak about a variety of environmental themes.

“My aim would be to connect with the public at various festivals, events, and workshops, where I would hope to inspire them, using my art as a touchstone, to commit to taking at least one action to reduce their climate impact and/or increase their climate resilience,” she proposes.

“I hope to start a conversation and get people thinking, and that’s why I chose to pair the art with my blog posts so they explain and offer a little education along with just seeing the piece.”

Residents are invited to create a small modular mosaic which will later be incorporated into a larger work showing the city’s collective commitment to climate action in for main categories: energy, transportation, food, and storm water. Time permitting, a fifth mosaic about water conservation could be added.

As much as possible, materials used will be foraged and sourced locally to emphasize the connection to place. The community mosaics will be incorporated into a large mosaic showing Kitchener residents’ commitment to climate action, which will be displayed in a final exhibition.

Dates and details about the 2017 artist-in-residence program, facilitated by the city’s Public Art Working Group and arts and culture advisory committee, will be announced in coming weeks.

Those wishing to learn more about the artist and stay updated on the artist-in-residence program can log on to sperlingmosaics.com for more information.