Around 18 years ago I was taught the ancient art of the mosaic in Ravenna, Italy. The permanence of the art form is what drew me in first. 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. Since my experience in Italy, I've devoted myself to changing people's perception of what a mosaic could be. Using the same materials, tools, and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. From junk food to coffee to breakfast cereal, my work permanently locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present.
On May 20, 2013, I began to apply this thinking to the numerous potholes filling the streets of Chicago. Temporarily fixed over and over again by city street crews, the potholes cried out for something more resilient, and far more aesthetically pleasing than a patch of asphalt. Early concepts of the artwork that I first installed branded the pothole as an authentic "Chicago-style" pothole. Other, early creations included serial numbers (to represent the vast number of city potholes), phone numbers of nearby auto repair shops (to offer convenient access to auto wheel repairs) and even flowers (as a pretty juxtaposition to the universally ugly pothole.) My ten-piece 2015 campaign called "Treats in the Streets" featured classic ice cream treats. That Kickstarter project even helped partially fund installing 6 pieces in Jyväskylä, Finland. In addition to Chicago installs, I've been able to piggyback on existing travel plans and install new work in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
The project has been featured on news outlets from around the world including CBS Sunday Morning (click here), PBS, ABC News, the UK's Daily Mail, Oprah's magazine "O", Hyperallergic, and many others. A recent piece was even featured on the cover of the March 2017 issue of Chicago magazine.
It's early 2018 now and pothole season will soon be upon us. Since these works of art are permanently affixed to the ground, I can't sell them. This year I'm looking for is a little funding for a 3 to 5 piece series to be installed in New York City! Take a look at my website bachor.com to see examples of pieces I've installed so far and check out the interactive map.
Thank you for considering donating to the 2018 NYC Pothole Project!
Risks and challenges
After about the sixth installation I had the technique down pat. (I've now done almost 60 pieces of pothole art.) Temperature plays a big part of the process and April/May is a good time for me to start, since it's usually warm enough for the mortar to set properly. Given that my canvas is a city street, the artwork occasionally gets paved over or patched with asphalt. But that comes with playing the street. For me the only risks/challenges are making sure not to get hit by a car during an installation. There is a limitless supply of pothole candidates and, when the weather cooperates, an installation takes about 2 days to complete.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)