Paul Pearman is an accomplished mosaic artist, who works out of his studio in Augusta, GA. Known for his attention to detail and also for using the tiniest of mosaic tiles within his creations, Pearman’s projects can range in size from miniscule to mammoth. “From small projects such as mosaic designs on belt buckles to immense projects such as three-dimensional mosaic-clad hanging chandeliers, I want my artwork to be of the highest quality. And, I want the designs I create to last for generations.”
One of Pearman’s most recent creations, an incredibly intricate, ornate, and one-of-a-kind sculpted chandelier, which is suspended above the lobby at Georgia Health Sciences University’s new College of Dental Medicine, certainly merits more than just a double-take. According to Pearman, who was commissioned by the university to produce this unique, abstract piece of art, “It took nine months to build and quite frankly, drove all of us including family and friends to near insanity. But, the final outcome was of such a strong image, was so visually appealing, that right now people are colliding into each other taking pictures of it. There have been two film documentaries chronicling the building of this mosaic chandelier. There is even going to be a competition held in the near future to give it a name. I am very proud and thankful to have been given the opportunity to create this design.”
Pearman’s initial ideas were inspired by the world-famous Salvador Dali painting,Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of a New Man. “In that painting,” he stated, “you see a man breaking out of an egg, with an amazing warped draping of gilded colors hanging directly above him. That draping really got my mojo working.”
Pearman subsequently assembled a team of skilled laborers to work on the sculpture, which began directly after a new building was erected just for this project, right in the artist’s backyard. The foundation of the actual sculpture was built of steel, and was then covered with carved foam and fiberglass materials. Thousands upon thousands of pieces of reflective glass and metal, some extremely minute, were cut with tiny nippers and then bonded via LATICRETE materials to the structure’s “body,” all by hand. In some cases, because the pieces were so small, affixing them to meet the extremely high creative standards of the artist required the use of genuine dental utensils. The final abstract design, which to some is reminiscent of a gigantic jellyfish, has a surface consisting of four separate hanging tiers all covered with an ongoing design incorporating three brilliant colors of both iridescent and non-iridescent glass mosaics. “In the middle tier,” declared Pearman, “there is more than $20,000 worth of hidden LED’s to add illumination.”
When bonding the mosaic tiles to the body of the sculpture, Pearman was emphatic about only using installation materials produced by LATICRETE. “For this mosaic sculpture, we used LATICRETE SpectraLOCK® PRO Grout* as both the adhesive and the grout. Typically, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout is not used as an adhesive. However for unique pieces of art it is common to use this method of installation. It’s easy to use, the colors are extraordinary and in particular, the product is unbelievably strong,” exclaimed Pearman.
The multi-tiered sculpture, with its blue, gray and white colors, at its lowest level has a teardrop pendant wrapped around a brushed chrome globe, containing a clock. The sculpture is 28-feet-tall from top to bottom, and its lowest point is 9 feet from the floor. Initially, the sculpture was funded as gift from Emile Fisher, a patron of the dental school and via other private donations. According to Connie Drisko, Dean of the College of Dental Medicine (and the person who initially asked Pearman to make his chandelier production proposal to the school), “We did not want our new building to have the look of an institution or a hospital. We wanted a warm, inviting environment. We wanted unique artwork.” Pearman’s sculpture actually fronts the beginning of a larger program jumpstarted by Drisko, which is slated to add more art pieces inside the new dental college in the future.
Steve G. Rampino, LATICRETE Technical Services Training Supervisor added, “This sculpture was a one-in-a-million piece. The artist wanted top-quality installation material for his mosaic designs. And because the fabrication consisted of a large item suspended up in the air with people walking below, it was imperative that all mosaic tiles were adhered with the highest overall bonding strength, minimizing any risk of de-lamination.”