How We Created the “We Are The Bronx" Mural

HOW THE "WE ARE THE BRONX" MURAL CAME TO BE

Artist Jim Drain was the finalist for a mural which was to be a new addition to a NYC public school lobby. The School Construction Authority chose his composition, which includes elements from the area around this school, PS46X, in Kingsbridge, The Bronx. 

Jim hired New York Tilemakers to fabricate and install this mural, combining our process and his artistic vision. This is the 1st mural made from NY Tilemakers new location in Long Island City, Queens.

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ABOUT THE COMPOSITION

The four themes in the background are winter, spring, aquatic, and autumn. The title "We Are The Bronx" reflects the borough as both an urban and natural habitat, bringing in elements from nature to illustrate and encompass these seasonal themes.

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ABOUT THE PROCESS AND MATERIALS

The foreground motifs are glazed mosaics; the background is made with a process in which each color was silk screened onto the tile. We made about 300 square tiles, which were then transported to Rhode Island, where Jim and his helper applied underglaze, utilizing the silk screen process. That process was similar to how one would print a T-shirt or wallpaper, but instead of using ink, underglaze (a liquid, colored clay) passes through a stencil "burned" into a mesh screen.

Those tiles were returned to us at our studio, where then we applied clear gloss glaze.

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All tiles were then fired a second time, in our kilns. The foreground animals and plants were made by us in a process where we hand cut and smoothed the needed shapes. After drying, the tiles were bisque-fired in the kilns, and glazed in colors specified by the artist. The foreground tiles were then fired a second time.

Fabrication of the mural, in our workspace, took about 4 months, and 3 artisans assisted with the various tasks. 

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ONSITE INSTALLATION, AUGUST 2019

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More pictures and details are included on our Murals page.