Phoenix Rising- Public Art Mosaic

A full view of the “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic from Richard Bowling Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography

This mosaic was inspired by a visit I made the Richard Bowling Elementary School art class. The students showed me their sketchbooks and we talked about their lessons on ‘Life Drawing.” Life drawing generally refers to sketching the human figure from a live model, often in a class or studio setting. It is a fundamental practice to developing one’s skills as an illustrator, painter, or sculptor. The term can also refer to any practice of drawing from real life. A painter friend makes a lot of sketches of his dog, as a way to practice form and movement. I like to draw the people stranded with me in airports, waiting for a delayed flight.

A colorful detail of the head of the “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography


When I think of ‘life drawing’ I also think of those people who need to draw, to paint, to make things as a way to survive and flourish. I am one of those people and I met some kindred spirits at the schools on my visit. To me, a creative life is a full life.

I want my mosaics to speak to the idea of the students making things. Not just drawing life that they see, but drawing the life they want for themselves. I want the kids of the Norfolk schools to recognize themselves in the artwork. I hope they will see themselves and see value and possibility in creating art and making things.

A young artist draws the “Phoenix Rising” part of a public art mosaic in an elementary school.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography

I wanted to show art as a fundamental part of life, not something esoteric and ‘over there.’ Drawing is not reserved for famous artists and faraway gallery shows. Engineers & architects draw, cartoonists & advertisers draw, scientists & naturalists draw, city planners & art teachers draw.

I wanted to show kids building our future.

A a young artist draws the wing of the “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic from Richard Bowling Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography

This natural stone mosaic utilizes marble, travertine, sandstone, onyx and a host of other stones to create an enduring piece of public art. Commissioned by the Norfolk Public Art Commission, it is installed at Richard Bowling Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. It depicts two students creating artwork together. It is meant to inspire the students to be creative and to see the great potential that the arts offer them in school and in life.

A colorful detail of the stones used in “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography


The mosaic was recognized by the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) during their 2019 juried exhibit Mosaic Arts International: Architectural & Site-Specific category.

Stone mosaic “Phoenix Rising” adorns the hallway of Richard Bowling Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. Image © 2018 Dave Chance

LOCATION: Richard Bowling Elementary School, Norfolk, Virginia
DATE: October 2018
DIMENSIONS: 9′ 9″ by 17′ 6″
COMMISSIONED BY: Norfolk Arts
PROJECT MANAGER: Karen Rudd
DESIGNED BY: Marc Archambault
FABRICATED BY: Marc Archambault, Fred Lashley, Jonathan Frederick, Tony Costa
INSTALLED BY: Marc Archambault, Fred Lashley, Jonathan Frederick, Tony Costa, Willie Walthall
ENGINEERING: Andrew Terrell of Lysaght & Associates, Raleigh, NC
TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Bo Thompson of Blackstone Masonry

Hammerhead Stoneworks accepts commissions on public and private mosaic works. We are happy to design a piece- large or small- for you, or work from your design. Please contact Marc Archambault at (828) 337-7582 or e-mail him hammerheadstone@gmail.com

Updates from the process

Installed!
The mosaic process