Potholes are one of the common gripes of modern living. Drivers hate them. Pedestrians, prone to splashing from passing cars, hate them. Local authorities, with stretched maintenance budgets, hate them. And cyclists, believe me, really hate them.
But one man, Jim Bachor, loves them. And, when they have received the Bachor treatment, many other find something to love about potholes after all.
Around five years ago, Bachor began filling potholes in his home city of Chicago with a 16 by 24 inch mosaic modelled on the design of the official Chicago flag but with the word Pothole through the middle.
This functional graffiti has proved to be a promising avenue of exploration for Bachor, who reinvented himself as an artist in 2012 after being laid off from his job as creative director at a Chicago advertising firm
He has now extended his pothole mosaic art portfolio, and even sells his iconic and ironic pop-culture mosaics, which now includes images of flowers, cereal boxes and snack wrappers. In a further twist to the story, Bachor has even been commissioned for a public mosaic work by Chicago Transit Authority at Thorndale station.
“Trying to leave your mark in this world fascinates me” explains Bachor. “Ancient history fascinates me.”
“Volunteering to work on an archaeological dig in Pompeii helped merge these two interests in to my art. In the ancient world, mosaics were used to capture images of everyday life.”
“These colourful pieces of stone or glass set in mortar were the photographs of empires long past. Marble and glass do not fade. Mortar is mortar. An ancient mosaic looks exactly as intended by the artist who produced it over two millennia ago. What else can claim that kind of staying power? I find this idea simply amazing.”
“Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. My work locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present.”
“By harnessing and exploiting the limitations of this indestructible technique, my work surprises the viewer while challenging long-held notions of what a mosaic should be. Like low-tech pixels,hundreds if not thousands of tiny, hand-cut pieces of Italian glass and marble comprise my work. This work is my mark.”
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, April 2017.