Tile Elves
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Mercedes Austin – Artist Statement

I am a handmade tile and mosaic artist living in St Paul, Minnesota.  I own a mosaic & tile business in the Arts District as well as my very own artist studio in a separate location, in the Arts District. My path to mosaics began when I walked into a handmade tile studio on Central Ave – by chance – and started working for trade 2 weeks later. After working and creating pieces there for 3 ½ years, I decided to venture out on my own. Ten years later I still absolutely love it and want to explore even more visual possibilities with this medium that put my ancient and modern training as an artist to work! Everywhere I go, I have tile and mosaics on my mind, there is not a single pattern that I view where my imagination does not break it down into how I can execute it in a tile and mosaic format.

Drawing upon my background in art and my natural ability to work with color, my fine art mosaics are ready to develop and evolve this year. I have spent much of the last 6 ½ years being a “tile business lady” and I am really ready to tap back into my artistic roots now that my tile business handles my day-to-day income needs. The stage is set, I have been dreaming of this time for the last six years!

I know instinctually that handmade tile and mosaics are what I am meant to express myself with as an artist. I used to paint, be a photographer; nothing fills the passion I have to create like handmade tile and mosaics. The grit and weight, the magical color, the ability to turn into anything, dealing with the raw earth of clay, the timelessness of the medium, when I work with tile it is like I have always done this.

I feel I can take my skills as a business woman in the art industry and blend them with my passion as an artist and really nurture my ideas into becoming pieces that uplift people in public spaces. My intention is to kick it all off with one gallery show, highlighting a series of work I created as the entrance to my true roots as a fine art mosaicist!

What’s in your coffee?

Cream and 2 raw sugars.

When you were young, what was your favorite TV show?

The Simpsons

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect or designer.  I doodled floor plans as an 8 year old.

If you could choose to be born in any decade, which would you choose and why?

1940s—the style and glamour, the architecture and for the strength women pioneered in manufacturing and the workplace.

For the impending zombie apocalypse, what will be your weapon of choice?

Well a Glock 17 of course.

If you could be any cartoon character, which would you be?

Bart Simpson—always my favorite.

Favorite tile color?

23 Sapphire Blue—LOTS of variation and a little texture.

What is your favorite project Mercury Mosaics has done?

Storefront mural for lululemon Santa Barbara.