MAI 2007 - Best of Show
I caught up with Brooks Tower at the Sama Convention in Mesa & was honored when he agreed to be featured in the m.a.s. gallery. Brooks' Market Day II won the award for Best in the Show at the Mosaic Arts International Exhibit this year. His thought provoking piece (photo below) delivers mastery in materials, technique, composition & imagery. Brooks Tower is 'the modern master' in opus sectile mosaics.
Market Day II
33.5" x 22"
onyx, granite, marble, travertine, ceramic
I wanted to interview Brooks... but was ummm... a tad scared. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you a little something about my friend Brooks. He's fantastic... handsome, charming, creative, insanely brilliant, a killer wit & he's definitely not afraid to speak his mind. Of course, I love him, but thought... I've just got no idea where that mind of his might take us... an interview? Now that would be just pure craziness...
- B.T. So, tell me, Brooks, how did you get started in mosaics?
- Brooks I had been cutting tile in a few bathroom projects I had done in a couple of houses I own. The second bathroom had a 12 foot black slate snake coming in the window. The first bathroom had a weird ropy fungus –y kind of thing wrapping around the shower – a pathetic attempt to hide the fact that I couldn’t get my various rows of two inch tile to line up.
Then I got divorced, most of my family died off, I lost a couple of best friends, and just decided, hell, I hate my life as a computer consultant. Started playing with my wet saw. Went crazy. There you go.
- B.T. And this was how long ago?
- Brooks About eight years. A lifetime. I’m 54 now, living in Oklahoma City, the cultural center of the universe. Wish I’d started earlier, but then I wouldn’t have paid off this house. Wouldn’t have these gardens.
- B.T. Your views on the present state of the world are well-known (to anybody who is so unlucky to spend more than a half-hour with you). Why do art now, if the planet is crashing, as you say, and so your inner city neighborhood is going to devolve into complete chaos and mayhem and you’re going to end up broken and homeless on the streets?
- Brooks What? I should buy an AK-47 and go live in the Montana hills?
- B.T. Well, I’m just saying, what does art mean to you now, given such an apocalyptic worldview?
- Brooks Mean? I don’t know. I’m pretty damn good at what I do. It’s time spent not making a nuisance of myself on the neighborhood streets...
- B.T. But don’t you think art incorporates some kind of transcendent values of...
- Brooks Oh, geesh. Transcend this, fella. (Makes rude gesture.)
- B.T. No need to get rude...
- Brooks No need not to…
- B.T. There, see, that’s the kind of thing, that’s why nice people like Donna are scared to interview you.
- Brooks (mumbling)
- B.T. So, uh, what did you think of the SAMA show?
- Brooks Well, the Best of Show, man, that was some fine work there. Transcendent as all get out. The rest pretty much sucked.
Oh, you don’t want to say that, do you?
- Brooks Aw, no, I really loved about three other pieces in it. Really liked about five or six others. Mildly approving of about 10 others. The rest sucked.
- B.T. Oh, just wonderful. I work years as your agent, try to clean you up a bit, get you respectable enough so that people don’t think you’re some nut job, and you come out with this kind of stuff...
- Brooks (inarticulate noises)
So what are you currently working on?
- Brooks I'm doing a series I call “Lunch” for the BAMM show “Breaking Out”.
- Brooks Yep.
- B.T. Care to elaborate?
- Brooks Nope.
All righty, uh, lessee, back to the SAMA show in Mesa. I’ve heard you’ve had some problems with the presence of too much mixed media in the show.
- Brooks That’s right. There are about 4000 mixed media shows running at any one time in this country. I don’t think the premier mosaic exhibition in the country needs to be just another one of them. I don’t think a work made entirely of cardboard is mosaic.
- B.T. Well, it’s cut up as tesserae, and I think could legitimately be called mos- OW! STOP THAT! NO HITTING DURING INTERVIEWS!
- Brooks Well, don’t say silly crap. Cardboard is not mosaic. Neither is eggshell slathered (how I love that verb) on a couple of baby dolls. Eggshell mosaic isn’t even cut. It’s just eggshell pushed onto a glued surface and it breaks into a pattern. Nothing about the process is mosaic. I know this from a very good source,…
- Brooks C’mon, you’re not hurt…
Why can’t you just be civil and have a nice conversation?
- Brooks Why can’t you just shut up and rub my hands. They’re sore and I have to make another “Lunch” piece. And I have to make a life size maitre d’ for a totally different show.
- Brooks No dinner.
- B.T. I’m ending this interview now. This has been totally unsatisfactory.
- Brooks It’s for a Canadian. They don’t expect much of us, you know.
- B.T. True.
- m.a.s. You better tell them...
- donna Ummm... Did I mention this was a self-interview?
- m.a.s And?
- donna oh right, the disclaimer... m.a.s. may or may not share the opinions and views expressed...
- m.a.s. Brooks, love your candor. Thanks for livening things up & allowing us to feature your mosaic art in our gallery!
Mosaic Art Source Gallery - Mosaic Artist - Brooks Tower
Mosaic Art Source Exhibits - SAMA - MAI 2007 Mosaic Art Photo Gallery
Mosaic Art Source Exhibits - SAMA - MAI 2007 Gallery & Awards
For further details please visit the artist's site Brooks Tower Mosaics