At Tile Addict I like to tip my hat to talent, commitment and stamina: three essential qualities of you are to forge a successful career as a mosaic artist specialising in commissioned public art projects. So today, my titfer is tilted towards Gary Drostle: an award-winning mosaic artist who has created numerous large scale commissions across the UK and beyond.
Born in Woolwich, South East London, it was perhaps inevitable that an artistic talent like Drostle should study fine art at Camberwell, before undertaking further training at St Martins and Hornsey Colleges of Art. On graduation, in 1985, Drostle initially worked as a mural artist on a project for Haringey Hospitals. This led him to founding the Haringey Mural Workshop and serving on the executive of Haringey Arts Council.
His first major commission came in 1987: a series of murals for Alexandra Palace. Back in south London, Drostle formed Wallscapes: initially working with Belfast artist Ruth Priestley. The pair’s first mosaic, ‘Sunburst – the light at the end of the tunnel’, commissioned by the London Borough of Islington, set the path for Drostle’s future career. Initially working with Rob Turner and, since 2001, as a solo artist, Drostle has built up a successful studio creating large scale site-specific artworks to his own designs and, occasionally, collaborating with other artists.
Over the years Drostle has gained much deserved international recognition for his mosaics, completing major commissions in Iowa, Chicago, California and Washington DC; and even working as far afield as Colombia and Chile. In the UK clients include TFL – Transport for London, Chester City Council, London Borough of Bexley and The Royal College of General Practitioners. President of the British Association for Modern Mosaic and a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Mosaic School, Drostle was also one of the founders of the BAMM Andamento mosaic journal that records this fascinating craft’s history.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, May 2017.