Located in the heart of Shea Home’s Blackstone Community, Brea California, you’ll find a collection of individual art pieces representing the local flora, fauna and history of the area. Once a hillside covered by oil wells, Blackstone provides a collection of new homes and recreational amenities on the previously owned historical Unocal site. Under the guidance of Jim Holas, previously with Shea Homes, Land Concern was tasked to select the locations and conceptualize each of the 8 art pieces and their settings. Teaming up with Marlo Bartels, renowned Ceramicist, Sculptor and Muralist in Laguna Beach, Land Concern provided initial concepts, construction documents and support material to assist Marlo in bringing his art from conception to reality.
Marlo Bartel’s artwork perfectly echoes Blackstone community’s vivacious spirit; combining unique shades, shapes and sizes of glass to create one grand picture – one grand neighborhood. Eight new sculptures with mosaic designs offer equal parts artistic retreat and neighborly warmth. Picture vibrant ceramic crystals, intricately tiled pillars, open spaces and mosaic-lined staircases to lead you on your way to endless opportunities.
“Flora and Fauna” contains a story of insects, animals, shelter or healing embedded in each Prickly Pear cactus. The gorgeous “Seed to Tree” was created with an off-set frame effect which sheds light and shadow on the native Black Walnut tree and its seed, an indigenous food and healing source. Walk a little further and you will find “Gems” where the ceramic quartz benches and crystals invite visitors to sit within the art.
Marlo Bartels recently spoke to Pelican Hill magazine, and had this to say about his process:
“I work with the most basic of materials and processes: terra cotta and clay, earth and fire. Using a slab roller, an extruder and the potter’s wheel, I create tiles of all shapes, sizes and dimensions. I apply thick coats of colored glazes and fire the pieces to a relatively low temperature to give me a greater range of blues, greens, vibrant yellows, oranges and reds.
As for the tiled structures and furniture, I thin-set the tiles onto a steel armature covered in polystyrene foam and nylon mesh and two coats of specialty mortar; this is what keeps the finished work from being overly heavy. The mixing and grouting and applying process is pretty unique and something I’m kind of proud of developing as my art medium.”