Ed Chapman is one of the UK's leading mosaic artists. His style is instantly recognisable and he has completed mosaics in paper and metal, as well as the more familiar medium of ceramic tile.
Specialising in portraiture, his incredibly accurate work is the result of hours of painstaking effort. His portraits in ceramic tile are often constructed from up to 2,000 fragments, each carefully placed in position. The edges of each portrait are tiled in the same colour as the background to finish the work.
This year, Chapman created a collection of 20 portraits of such diverse characters as Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Oscar Wilde, Princess Diana and John Lennon for a 'Heroes & Villains' exhibition in Manchester.
The modern subject matter and remarkable likeness achieved in his portraits give a contemporary look in a centuries-old medium.
"The mosaics are very intricate and it can take days to complete even a small area of finer work," says Chapman. "I have studied the technique in-depth and attempt to bring the medium of mosaic into the 21st Century with my use of colour, sizes of mosaic pieces and different colours of grout. That's why most of the subjects are modern icons."
Chapman also sees a message in the medium. "The mosaic medium produces striking and interesting results, particularly with portraits, where the effects are dramatic and impressive," he says. "The fragmented results represent the fragmented nature of our lives and our own unique make-up. No two mosaics could ever look exactly the same."
Chapman is largely self-taught. His influences are wide-ranging and include Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Vik Muniz, Picasso, Anton Pieck, MC Escher, Ed Dulac, Simon Patterson, as well as several musicians and cities, history, films, TV, women, photographs, stars, ghosts and dreams.
Chapman's work is increasingly sought-after, and he has sold mosaics across Europe and North America. Privately commissioned portraits by celebrities are becoming common.
"I am constantly thinking of new ideas and new subjects I would like to turn into mosaics," he says. "I am never short of ideas and am pleased to consider any commission."
When working on commissions, Chapman usually works from a photograph. Each work takes about four weeks to complete. All works are waterproof and mounted on 12mm board.
To see Ed Chapman's gallery please click here