For nearly 15 years, artist Laurel True has been making mosaics, a practice that has taken her around the world. But True’s latest mural decorates a building much closer to home — the rough industrial space that sits right across the street from her Oakland studio. In “Elevating the Everyday,” Spark visits True onsite while she creates public art.
After years of looking out her studio at the tree-trimming business across the road, True decided to replace its makeshift “Free Wood” sign with an elaborate mural covering a large section of the building’s façade. Using handmade tile and glass, along with commercial tile, broken dishes and pieces of mirror, True and her team created an arbor-themed diptych featuring fantastical trees that surround the words “Free Wood.” The mural is typical of True’s work, which regularly employs fluid, sinuous lines and organic forms executed in a colorful array of tiles and glass. True especially enjoys incorporating mirrored surfaces that reflect light, movement and the mural’s viewer.
Laurel True studied art and design in schools in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dakar, Senegal and Ravenna, Italy. She produces murals and other works in her studio, True Mosaics, which she founded in 1991. Her architectural, sculptural mosaics adorn parks, hospitals, schools, restaurants, shops and private residences across the United States. One of True’s projects took her to West Africa, where she designed and facilitated a community mosaic mural project in a fishing village in Ghana.