In Carlos González García’s work as a mosaic artist, art and functionality co-exist. While many people overlook the economic power of the arts to kindle community business and prosperity, for Carlos the connection has never been a question.
Carlos came to mosaic through a background in business. After earning a degree in administration at college in Orlando, Florida, Carlos discovered and fell in love with the physicality and skillful detail of mosaic art. “That’s our human nature, you know?,” he explains. “To do things with our hands, not just like coloring with an i-pad without handling the crayon and feeling the texture of the crayon.”
After college, he moved to Spilimbergo, Italy for three years to earn a master’s in mosaics at the only program in the world to offer such a degree: Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli (The Mosaic School of Friuli). Scrambling to learn Italian in order to complete the coursework, while traveling to campus on a bicycle, he learned the art of cutting mosaic glass, glass installation, and more. “Once you find something you like, time just flies,” says Carlos when reminiscing about Friuli. Carlos then brought these skills back to Cuernavaca, Mexico and began work at Artista Plástico. After a year and a half, Carlos began his own mosaic business and his artistic craft for interior tiling, pool tilings, business logo design, wall mosaic commissions, and more.
Driven by experience with the economic capabilities of art, Carlos additionally began to run community mosaic workshops. Carlos adamantly believes in the ability of arts like mosaicto help his communities. “I want to teach people how to do mosaic so they can sell mosaic,” explains Carlos. Describing a workshop he ran for single-mothers in Mexico on how to make mosaic mirrors, Carlos tells how he was further moved to run the workshops because of the emotional support it provided the women. “It was something to get them out of their house and out of their environment. They’re all relaxing, they’re all laughing making mosaics,” Carlos explains.
And as if he weren’t busy enough already, Carlos devotes a wealth of time to building community through social activism. In Cuernavaca, he worked as the director of tourism for the city for three years, which in combination with a family history of political involvement, eventually led him to form his own political party: Harmony. Carlos believes that his creative background helps his political work. “I’m not your basic politician of the old ways, like people who have just been always in the position they’ve always held, just going back to the same old people,” he explains. “Also, I think being close with artists and being close with artist communities, I’m more open to being myself with people and people in need.”
Now Carlos is bringing his energy, social activism, and artistic craft to North Carolina. Early this year, Carlos and his family moved to Hillsborough, drawn by the support of a close friend from high school and hopes of a safer community for his children. In the near future, Carlos hopes to open a school in Hillsborough’s historic Eno Mill for teaching the craft of professional mosaic. Carlos says he hopes to be able to provide the students with a skill they can use to help both their economic and emotional well-being. The school will be called NCMOSAIC. Additionally, Carlos is working to create a production site for mosaic glass, the first in the United States.
In the meantime, Carlos is working with the Orange County Arts Commission on the “Love Hillsborough Community Art Project” to create video tutorials on how to create a heart-shaped mosaic. As many of us continue to shelter-in-place during the pandemic, this is a project that will be accessible to folks with limited access to supplies and that will maintain social distancing safety measures. Carlos recommends this course for adults and children. Each person can design and color their heart mosaics in the way they like, even sharing work on a single mosaic, all from home. At the completion of the course, Carlos will install the small mosaics into a large mural to be installed in town in Hillsborough. The course offers a beautiful opportunity for the local community to come together, physically building and creating a hopeful monument for the town. Check back soon to learn how to participate!
For those who speak Spanish, check out this video of Carlos in conversation with Gina Batista:
Learn more about Carlos and his work at his professional Facebook page here.