Russian artist mosaicist Irina Charny came to the U.S. in 1975 and now lives in California. While living in Russia she loved creating beautiful things with her own hands – collages from pieces of broken glass found on the street, small pebbles, paper, shells and broken crockery. In the US she studied film and architecture before transferring to UC Irvine, where she graduated with a degree in math. After graduation, Irina worked as a computer programmer for 7 years and she admits that she hated every day of it. Then she attended UCLA where she graduated with a masters in Library Science. After graduation she worked as a research librarian for 3 years. Irina discovered mosaics quite accidently while trying to “beautify” a fireplace damaged during earthquake.
She saw pictures of a fireplace covered with broken tile in a magazine and thought she could do that. That was 15 years ago, now she has been creating mosaic art professionally. Her childhood favorite thing – mosaic has become her main passion.
Through the years Irina Charny tried various media for artistic expression but has returned to her childhood favorite thing – mosaic. “This medium gives me a chance to explore color, shape, and texture, to experiment with different materials, and satisfy the passion to integrate unrelated small bits into a single work of art.”
Irina Charny is a Member of SAMA – Society of American Mosaic Artists. “While I am inspired by the rich history of the medium, I strive to build a unique and personal art form on the base of classical mosaic. In addition to traditional mosaic tesserae, I incorporate unusual materials in my work — mirror, pebbles, found objects, beads, buttons, wire, handmade ceramic pieces, and broken plates. I never return home empty handed from a walk on the beach or a trip. Beach glass, pebbles from a path on Hampstead Heath, broken glass from a studio in Seattle, a bit of bone found on the shore are special little bits that are inserted into each mosaic to give it a special, personal meaning”.
“Making mosaics gives me the chance to explore color, shape and texture while creating images that are both narrative and decorative. I am Russian by birth and the fantastical fairy tales and rich textures of my childhood seem to permeate my artwork often without my awareness of their influence. Primavera is Spring emerging in her lushness and promise of new beginnings”