The Power of the Mosaic

I'm still recovering from the fantastically intense experience that it was to participate in Zentangle® Seminar 23 (CZT23). It's going to take me a while to process everything I saw! One of the things that struck me the most was the power of the Mosaic. After each lesson, all attendees would post their pictures in a sort of grid-like display -- sometimes on a board, sometimes just on a table surface. Although I knew about Mosaic practice in the Zentangle method, I never quite GOT it as I did here, their purpose was never this clear:

Learn how to shade Zentangle® with Eni Oken • enioken.com
Learn how to shade Zentangle® with Eni Oken • enioken.com

The result was astounding: although each picture was different, they had common elements (we were all following the same lessons more or less). When looking at the entire Mosaic, they formed the most BEAUTIFUL quilt of patterns.

Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com
Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com

Only when you start to get closer, you notice that each one was slightly different, with unique characteristics.

Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com
Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com
Learn how to shade Zentangle® with Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com
Learn how to shade Zentangle® with Eni Oken CZT • enioken.com

When you get really close you can see the uniqueness of each one.

Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com
Learn how to do great shading with Eni Oken • enioken.com

All unique, but essentially the same. All equal, but individually unique. A bit of a paradox. Kind of like people, right?

On my flight home, I couldn't help but ponder how social media sometimes encourages us to forget this basic principle. We measure the amount of "Likes" we get on a picture, and get upset if others receive more than we did. We compare our art with the work of others who seem more proficient than us. We try to be cleverer than the next person.

Sure, I do want to retain a sense of individuality, and as an artist for over 30 years I might be more comfortable with art technique and concepts than others. And yet, it was comforting to know that at the same time, I belong to a crowd. This was my crowd. We were all the same.

And, the most important thing of all, EACH TILE WAS BEAUTIFUL in own uniqueness. We couldn't help but "Oooh and Ahhh", admiring each and every one, they were all treasures.

Pretty neat, I hope I don't forget this feeling too soon.