Three of my favorite Bead artists by Sabrina Frey, Bead Mosaic Artist
The term Bead art covers many different types of work done using beads. Here I'm going to focus specifically on three of my favorite artists who at some point in their career were or are currently dedicated to working with beads as a mosaic artform. These artists also use other items in their work and may also incorporate other techniques with the beads sometimes, but their primary medium is/was working with beads and glue. As a natural course many artists start out using one technique and over time morph into something very different. I have tried to keep this list to artists who have not just tried beads on some pieces as part of their list of mediums but people who’s main focus has always been beads. Please know that there are many other artists who are not listed here whose work is to be recognized and commended however on todays blog I am just focusing on three that vary greatly in their style and topics but I love none the less. The bio information given is taken from their websites and the links are provided so you can check out the sites for yourself and see numerous examples of their work. All of their work can be found easily by Googling their name and medium or using the links provided.
At the top of my favorites list is Ran Whang of NY and South Korea. Ran is a bead artist who has taken beads to the next level with multi layered large room sized beadworks that defy gravity and your imagination. She does not deal strictly in mosaics but has expanded into sculpture and beyond. Ran creates many types of work incorporating buttons with the beads in many of her larger scale installations. What a great way to offset the scale issue that going large presents. My personal favorite pieces include the palace shown below but also her Cherry Blossoms and all the architectural pieces. Her work is known globally and she has a team of helpers to get her ideas up and going. I always wonder what I could accomplish with a team of helpers? Here is just one of her creations, but I encourage you to go to her website and see all the amazing bead pieces she has created that are on display all over the world. This palace is called East Wind and is on display at the Pullman Kaifeng Hotel and measures 182 inches x 370 inches. I would be lost for days in the details. This particular piece is made of seed beads and buttons on pins to plexiglass. Someday I hope to meet Ran and ask her all my curious questions.
Here is her bio info that was copied from her website https://www.ranhwang.com/about
As a Korean born, New York based artist, Hwang creates large iconic figures that embody her preoccupation with the nature of cyclical life, non-visibility and the beauty of a transient moment. Her earlier career in the fashion industry and the personal memories of 9/11 attack have led her to adopt the everyday materials into the delicate and dramatic works, whereas the artist's lifetime practice of Zen Buddhism has blended into the sophisticated hand-work accompanied by repetition and penance. Through her performative and conceptual approach, Hwang depicts the time of reflection and rumination of a human being in the society. Hwang's work permanently resides in the collections of internationally acclaimed venues, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Deji Art Museum, Nanjing; Dubai Opera House, Dubai; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; New York University, New York and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul.
The next person I want to highlight is Liza Lou, who is based in Los Angelos and South Africa. Liza is probably most famous for her Kitchen covered entirely in seed beads created over 5 years in the late 1990’s and on display at the Whitney Museum. I have yet to see this kitchen in person but it’s on my To Do list because even in the pictures it’s amazing. Every detail of the kitchen down to the perfectly sculpted chip bag is covered in seed beads. What a way to start a long career. Her current works are nothing like her early works but she still focuses on beads and has created some very innovative techniques and pieces that are worth seeing. Liza is known globally in the art world and employs a village in South Africa who’s residence help her create her large scale bead creations. Her current techniques are more abstract and she is always trying new ideas that really take seed beads to another place. Check out her website for more pictures of her work evolution.
Here is Liza’s bio information taken from her website http://lizalou.com/info . Born in New York City, Liza Lou emerged in 1996 when her room-size sculpture, Kitchen was shown at the New Museum in New York. Representing five years of solo labor, this ground breaking work, now in the Whitney Museum's permanent collection, utilized glass beads as an index of intensive labor and it engaged the materiality and social consciousness that continues to underscore her practice today.
Lou has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Fondation Cartier, France, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Lou’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway; Fundacio Joan Miró, Barcelona; SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami and the Neuberger Museum of Art, New York. Her work has also been featured internationally at the 5th Biennale de Lyon d'art Contemporain, France; Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan and ARS 01, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
In 2005, Lou moved to South Africa, where she established a studio with Zulu beadworkers. Lou currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Lou is the recipient of a 2013 Anonymous was a Woman Award and she is a 2002 MacArthur Fellow.
When I first started creating bead mosaics I searched all over for a bead artist that I could maybe learn from or just see. While visiting an art show in Reston Virginia I found Alina Eydel. I was so amazed that another such artist did actually exist and her work was amazing. We compared notes and exchanged contact information and have kept in touch since. I am so privileged to be able to display my work in her gallery now and also own a couple of her pieces. Her work is so different than mine, not just the style but the techniques and subjects. Alina also works with butterflies and likes bright vibrant almost optical illusion works. Although her work is usually a mix of paint, seed beads and sometimes butterfly’s on canvas she always manages to carry me away to another place in her piece. Alina started as an artist at a very young and her immigrant parents were always supportive, so even though she is fairly young she has been in the art world for decades. It always amazes me to see what she will produce next, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing it as much as I do.
Alina Eydel bio information from her website – http://www.alinaeydel.com/glass-bead-mosaic.html
My travels to Venice and Istanbul inspired the intricate glass bead mosaic. The ancient Byzantine mosaics were the predecessors to the Russian Orthodox icons of my heritage, so I adopted the mosaic technique and interpreted it in a contemporary way, using a modern fashion material. The artistic process evolved into a meditative practice, with each bead symbolizing an atom or molecule of my daily life--people, moments and conversations.
My artwork is the manifestation of my spiritual practice. The painting and mixed media applications are meditative, magical processes through which I can charge each piece with vibrations of love, health, and gratitude.
Thank you for reading about three of my favorite bead artists. I hope you will return again in a couple of weeks to get to know three more artists I admire in the bead world. The list grows over time and I hope it never stops. You can also check out my bead mosaic works on my website sabrinafreyart.com or my Facebook and Instagram pages too. I regularly post in process videos so you can see the work come together. If your interested in creating your own bead mosaic then please join our Bead Mosaic Facebook group or purchase a DIY kit from Beadmosaickits.com. If you think of some other bead mosaic artists that I did not mention please don't hesitate to put their name in the comment section, as I would love to look up their work.