GREENVILLE — Gail Christofferson, of Bowling Green, said her most difficult glass mosaics are those in black and white.
“Because I grout white with white and black with black, it brings out that really high contrast,” she said. “I have to tape all of that to get the faces to look right. I put them on my wall and I look at them, and sometimes I grout them, and then remove pieces of glass because it doesn’t look right. I just added Dolly Parton and have done a lot of Johnny Cash and Elvis.”
Christofferson, owner of Animal House Glass, LLC, is talking about her glass mosaic guitars featured at the Anna Bier Gallery, in Greenville. A reception took place October 7, by Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) featuring her guitars, coinciding with DCCA’s presentation of “One Night in Memphis”. Anna Bier Gallery’s new Director Tamera McNulty said she was very focused on finding someone that would correlate with “One Night in Memphis”.
“I did an exhaustive search to find someone that would work, and I came across her website,” McNulty said. “I knew it was going to be awesome. Also, I am a big proponent of re-purposing things. All of these guitars lost their way and Gail found them, and brought them back to life. And she did it in a very beautiful and artful way. Another thing I love about her is her work in communities with massive mosaic projects, that a lot of hands touch. That is amazing to me.”
During the reception, Christofferson went around asking people which guitar was their favorite. Some were of famous people, such as Dolly Parton, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash and Elvis. Others are more representative of a special memory, such as the one Christofferson created from her daughter Clare’s drawing. Clare drew the picture when she was about 7, she is now 26-years-old.
“That is not for sale – that is mine,” Christofferson said.
In her profession as a visual communications and graphic artist, Christofferson found the computer to be limiting. She tried stained glass, but found that to be very confining, she said.
“Mosaicing was a little freer for me and that really worked,” she said. “About 15 years ago, I started doing it as a hobby and went to some little craft shows. My husband advised me that in order to quit my graphics business, I needed to make money and earn a living.”
Christofferson began small and worked her way up, through knocking on doors at businesses and art galleries asking them to stock her art. And as McNulty said, she also does community mosaic murals.
“I see that your junior high is torn down,” Christofferson said. “Our community had three elementary schools, and they were going to be torn down and replaced by one new elementary school. I decided to create a big mural for the new building, for everyone in the community to participate in. All 800 elementary students put pieces in, and I took it to different events to allow participation from community members. When it was installed, it was 25 wide x 7 feet high. People went up to it and pointed out the parts they worked on. It allowed them to have something positive to talk about with the new school, during a contentious time for our community.”
Since then, she quit the graphics business and is a full-time mosiac artist. In the past six years, she has completed 14 large – scale installations. She said the guitars are for fun.
“This is my art,” she said. “I get to do whatever I want. I started showing these in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at a really big art show where you could win $200,000. I did not win, but I had 13 guitars displayed there, and then I got the commission in the Nashville airport the following year, with 30 guitars. Since then, I have been doing various shows like this one. The guitars are my fun.”
To find out more, visit https://animalhouseglass.com, or facebook.com/Anna-Bier-Art-Gallery