Jonathan Brown is an award winning mosaic artist whose distinguishing style of intricate detail and innovative concepts have earned his place at the top of his field. From handcrafted wall pieces to water works to furniture to grand scale installations, Brown’s work has captured national attention with key projects in both residential and commercial design.
Brown’s artistic talent was already evident at the young age of five and he credits his mother for instilling him with the early discipline that would later allow him to turn his passion into a thriving career. “My mother could see that I was an artist from the start,” says Brown. “When I was around five she started this rule where I had to hand in a drawing to her every time I wanted to go out to play. Then I got smart to it and would stay up nights with a flashlight under the covers doing multiple drawings at a time and storing them under my bed. So whenever I wanted to go out and play and she’d ask, ‘Where’s your drawing little man?’ I would just grab from the supply under my bed.”
Growing up, Brown also spent much of his time working at his father’s body shop where he developed another passion for pin striping cars and he says those skills are what led to the detailed grouting his work is known for today. But Brown says it wasn’t until he went backpacking through Central America that all the elements came together and his calling became clear. “I always had a passion for art and a passion for breaking things. But it wasn’t until I went traveling through Central America and discovered all the incredible Mayan mosaic art, that I really became inspired,” Brown explains. “I fell in love with mosaics as a medium. It’s like looking at million broken little pieces up close and then you take a couple steps back and wow, it’s a full composition. The very first time I actually sat down to create a mosaic, the sound of the glass breaking under my hammer was just fantastic,” he adds.
Once his passions had a purpose, Brown’s strong entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and at the impressive age of eighteen he founded his company, Modern Mosaic Inc. Now, twenty some years later Brown and longtime friend, Troy Winscott, has lead the Modern Mosaics team to become regarded among the top of their field with major projects in all areas of commercial and residential art/design. While 86 percent of the company’s annual projects are detailed mosaics, Modern Mosaics is also becoming known for their work in sculptures, fountains, furniture, lighting, installations painted murals and public works. A recent residential project Brown is especially proud of is a wine grotto glass mural installed at a home in Carlton Woods, TX for renowned designer, Micah Tipler. “The client’s home was more like a 25,000 square-foot castle and we put in a glass mural of an Italian vineyard with a backlit custom one LED panel,” Brown explains. “We also recently installed a glass driveway inlay of a Koi pond at a residence and another client gave us our dream project of a glass mosaic swimming pool.”
Brown explains that while the residential work they do is always unique to each clients’ personal taste, his partnership with Skyline Art Services has enabled him to work on a number of large-scale commercial projects that allow for more innovative concepts. Two commercial projects he is particularly proud of are a recent installation at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, OH and a glass mosaic installation at Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX. “It was a fun, very child like installation for the pediatric wing of Herman Hospital, sponsored by Roger Clemens. All glass mosaic detail of children playing with animals and the kids seem to love it. I’m told they run up and down the mural, touching the mosaic,” says Brown.
As an artist whose ultimate goal is to continue working on bigger scale projects in cities across the globe, Brown is especially excited about the major public project his team is currently working on in Madison, WI. “The project is for Eric Hovde, who was Senator elect for Wisconsin in 2012 and he’s now transforming the former AT&T building into a super hip technological space, located just two blocks from the capital,” Brown explains. “It was actually Eric’s idea to make it a waterfall and we planned the project to be a static painted waterfall mural on the face of the building, about 121 feet high x 19 feet wide. It will be placed on an arched glass awning that I designed to flow with the bottom of the waterfall and we’re going to be working with Dan Nichols of Starlite Productions (NJ) to install a controlled LED lighting system to make it look like it’s in motion and trickling all the way down to the street. It’s one thing to paint a mural and whole other thing to make it move, but these are the kind of challenges I’m always looking for,” Brown adds.
In 2016, Modern Mosaics will also be releasing a new series of QueenAnn tables modeled after Tiffany’s but with a more modern twist. Brown says he will also continue to push the large public projects and is setting his cites in major art and architectural centers such as Los Angeles and Dubai. “I’m always pushing the limit, finding new ways to do something, looking for a new angle to skew off of, but somewhere in everything I do, I always add mosaics in someway. It’s my thing,” Brown concludes.
To find out more about Jonathan Brown and his collection of work, go to the official website: http://www.mosaicart.us/