Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paradise, New Heart for SF General Hospital Foundation

Paradise 2009
Laurel True
Asphalt, glass, gold smalti, fused glass and mirror

Eight new large hearts and six tabletop hearts will be unveiled this Thursday, February 11th, at Union Square in San Francisco.

I was invited to create one of the large hearts this year, my fourth heart for the Heroes and Hearts Project since it's inception in 2004, which I completed last December.

I utilized asphalt, which I have been exploring as a medium for mosaics for about two years now, combined with glass, gold and mirror.

What I am exploring here is, I suppose, a quest for beauty in ugliness. Searching out the grace embedded in the grit. Of life, of experience, of reality.

I am working with the idea of deconstructing the concrete jungle, the street, the urban environment, to create something completely new, but that has a memory of where it came from.

There is a symbol in Ghana called Sankofa, which looks like a stylized heart. One of the meanings of this symbol is, in order to move forwards, we must recognize our past, and that we bring our experience with us into the future. The proverb that goes with this symbol says "return and fetch it".

I feel that the use of asphalt, set in a traditional Italianate style, forming a ribbon that wraps the heart, speaks to this motif.

Paradise is a concept, not a place. There is no destination. Only the journey. So the road is really where its at- metaphorically speaking. The inner and outer landscapes this road meanders through are what the journey is all about. We hope to find beauty along the way.

In Paradise, the ribbon of asphalt dotted with gold reminds one to look closely at the world and at situations for hidden beauty.

The juxtaposition of rough materials with beautiful, light catching materials highlights that grace and grit can coexist, and may actually rely on one another.

The large pod like shapes symbolize growth and life to me. There is something so beautiful and non- specific about this form to me- they feel fulfilling and universal and satisfying. I used a specific number of these pod shapes on Paradise to directly correlate with a symbol which is part of an ancient divination system, which speaks of inner and outer happiness.

More info:


I started a fan page for True Mosaics Studio on Facebook, where I will be posting more photos that on this blog.

Here is the link:


Photo by Russ Osterweil

Facebook photo album of this project: