Public Mosaics by Roy Secord: Fine Artist/Public Artist seen at East 174th Street, The Bronx - Bronx Seasons Everchanging
Image credit: Photographer Gina Fuentes Walker

Bronx Seasons Everchanging

Item details

Installation Date: December 2018
Medium: Printed/Glazed/Kiln-Fired Porcelain Tiles and Smalti Mosaic Tiles
Dimensions: 46" x 320" each (8 murals)
Commissioning Agency: New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)
Fabricators: Miotto Mosaic Art Studios, Inc. (USA) & Travisanutto Mosaics (Italy)
Location: NYC Subway Station B/D Line 174-75th Street

Description: This eight, mural commission, “Bronx Seasons Everchanging”, is based on my experiences during mindfulness, walking meditation connecting with nature in a dense, urban environment. I often practice this discipline, walking aimlessly and experiencing consciousness on a more expansive level. In doing so, I disconnect from modern living complexity and frenetic, city energy to instead spatially commune with the pervading and everchanging beauty of the seasons. It is here I find order and healing expansion. And dynamic moments of nature infusing and surrounding city clamor. It is here I found inspiration for "Bronx Seasons Everchanging".
In NYC, I "ride the subway rails" almost daily. Mine is the B/D subway line and I frequently use the commission location site (174th-175th Street Subway Station). I knew well the layout, surrounding environment, interplays, psychological impacts in terms of personal usage, and how public art could have greatly improved this location. Many times, on those platforms, I conjectured just how much a fresh infusion of color and nature, executed as tile murals in a contemporary context, could positively affect user experience and location improvement.
I am a 21st Century Modernist. My language is one of geometry, line, the rich, complex interplay of color, and the dynamic balance between simplicity and complexity. And although my expression is ultra-contemporary and "clean", my homage is first to emotional feeling, and to beauty. And often nature. This mural series began by building very complex compositions (expressing seasonal periods) from a wide array of color blocks (resembling pixilation). Designs were created with graphic design programs and I created color connections between murals through “color shifting”. Compositional arrangements created a visual scintillation and made the viewer's eye "dance". Although these backgrounds were compositionally complete, I then built off those grounds, as background landscapes, adding upward, design layers that integrate with, and play off, the lower layers of composition for full statement expression. Of eight, nature transition, mural designs, final works titles were: 1) Of Winter, 2) Winter Always Turns to Spring, 3) Early Spring Rains, 4) Spring Arisen, 5) Spring into Summer Mandala, 6) Verdant is Summer, 7) Early Fall Chill, and 8) Falling is Autumn. My hope was to bring the beauty, inspiration, strength, positive impact, and the renewal of nature to station platforms and MTA riders through these works.
Each mural design was comprised of many colors, and, in this case, traditional mosaic medium could simply not provide me with the subtle nuances of tints and shades in my mural designs. I also had concerns of audience views being directly in front of these murals, and as far away as across the platforms. I wanted to avoid the optical mixing used in traditional, mosaic techniques. Instead, I sought a clean and crisp visual appearance, one rife with dynamic color. Much of my work has to do with connections between the past, present, and future. In keeping with that, the ultra-contemporary look of these murals, and my embracement of technology, I instead selected to use a novel, hybrid medium. All mural, color block backgrounds were laserjet printed on porcelain tiles, glazed, and kiln fired. Some upper layer designs were printed as well, but the majority of upward layer, design element areas were instead robotically, waterjet cut out from the printed/glazed/fired porcelain tiles. The murals were then completed by having all cut out area cavities traditionally hand-filled with smalti, mosaic tiles by mosaic artisans. Although complex in execution, and requiring many, design files with precision, process steps, this hybrid medium was incredibly successful. The murals are rich in both color variation and nuance, maintaining the durability of traditional mosaics while in an ultra-contemporary look indicative of my art style.

Context & Credits

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Roy Secord: Fine Artist/Public Artist

Meet the Creator

Geomety, Line, and Color: The Universal Vocabularies

Roy Secord a New York City fine artist who primarily creates artwork (usually in large-scale formats of painting, sculpture, glass, mosaics, and graphic arts) for corporate art and public art applications, as well as for general, art gallery sales. Artwork medium proficiencies are broad-based (2- & 3-dimensional) with a practice base of painting, sculpture, and graphic design. He is recently a public artist awardee for both the NYC Department of Transportation and the New York City Metropolitan Authority (MTA). In 2017, he was the awarded, public artist-in-residence for “The Resiliency Project 2017 (funded primarily through the NYC Mayor’s Office and NYCEDC) addressing the need for climate change resiliency (in anticipated, high-impact, disaster areas) through a community interaction, blog series and the creation/exhibition of a large, public sculpture. Major artist awards include the Pollock/Krasner Foundation Artist Award, and the BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Artist Recognition Award (Excellence in Painting) through the Bronx Council of the Arts and NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts). He also holds a fellowship in murals/public arts from the prestigious, National Academy Museum.
He studied painting and sculpture at the University of Texas and was subsequently chosen for a 2-year, formal apprenticeship with Mexican muralist and sculptor Mago Gandara Orona in the States and in Mexico. Upon completion of his apprenticeship (working alongside a prominent master-artist in creation of large, public & private works of art), he moved to Manhattan and attended classes for a number of years at Art Students League (studying painting techniques under several internationally recognized and acclaimed painters) and also Sculpture Center (honing his direct carving techniques & mold-making abilities, as well as working in the foundry learning casting techniques in bronze). He has taught assorted, medium technique classes across Manhattan publicly and privately. He is a selected, long standing artist-in-residence with Chashama (NYC arts nonprofit organization) with his art studio located in Midtown East Manhattan.
Having social and philanthropic mission, he develops/implements educational, arts programming for community youth and young adult populations (working with multiple, NYC government and education agencies) which often culminates with group creation of public art donated back to community. He has extensive, art teaching experience with all age populations, with focus on the at-risk (primarily youth/young adults in the criminal justice systems) and the health impacted.

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