An interview with pebble mosaic artist John Botica.
Robert Lisac: John, many mosaic artists are choosing smalti, glass, and stone tessereae as their materials. Using pebbles is quite uncommon. Why did you decide to use pebbles to create your mosaics?
John Botica: Part of my decision to use pebbles in my art was unintentional (it was destiny) since I was introduced to a client that wanted a pebble mosaic. At that time I was dabbling in creating mosaics with tiles. My bond to pebbles was immediate and irreversible. I was fascinated how beautiful a mother nature’s product can be.
Robert Lisac: Your mosaics are very accurate, all the details thought out to perfection. It is obvious that accuracy is very important to you. Can you tell me why?
John Botica: This is what I call “A Point of Difference” in art. What makes John Botica different to other pebble mosaic artists? Accuracy is paramount in my art since I want to deliver an impeccable product and it does not matter how long it takes.
Robert Lisac: Is there a special reason why you mostly chose your motives from the wildlife in New Zealand, even from the Maori culture?
John Botica: This is another “Point of Difference” for nobody else in the world creates pebble mosaics with Maori or Polynesian motifs. Apart from that they are so beautiful and full of andamento. The native birds of New Zealand are remarkable and the Maori mythology is simply fascinating.
Robert Lisac: Would you please describe what your typical day looks like?
John Botica: My usual day involves about 10 hours of work and I am talking about at least 6 days a week. I get up early and I am not a night person since I go to bed rather early. Sometimes I’m in my studio already at 7:00AM since I really get excited about this stuff! Most of the time I do not have any lunch since I’m so entangled in my work.
Robert Lisac: You took great risks to be what you are today – a great pebble mosaic artist. You literally “reinvented” yourself. You were a successful tennis player and coach and then you switched to mosaics. Can you tell us more about this part of your life? Wasn’t it a very dangerous decision that your whole existence depended on?
John Botica: Of course,this was a very dangerous decision. But without any courage we are doomed to fail. My courage was based on my feeling that I did have a magical product and if I did choose not to exploit it, it would have been the greatest failure as far as I am concerned. I actually realized that my second immigration to New Zealand was a call of destiny for I have discovered my true passion which is the world of pebble mosaics.
Robert Lisac: You make a living with your greatest passion – making mosaics. Which 3 “ingredients” do you think are the most important ones to reach this goal, which is one of the main goals of many mosaic artists?
John Botica: Those three ingredients are love,love,love…..On my wall in my studio there is a strong reminder of this….From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: ”Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love,love,love that is soul of genius”.
Robert Lisac: It seems that making pebble mosaics is not just a physical process for you. It has a lot to do with spirituality, too, right?
John Botica: Yes,I can compare it to a meditation process. I never listen to any music while I create. All of a sudden I enter the realm of timeless awareness which is taking me to new heights and I felt on many occasion experiencing or entering this “gap” as Deepak Chopra chooses to describe it.
Robert Lisac: When I visited your webpage www.powerofpebbles.com and when I was taking a look at your mosaic gallery, it was clear to me, that you are an artist with a very clear and grounded vision and even you as an artist are very grounded. This is actually just the opposite of what is happening to many artists. Do you have an explanation for this phenomena?
John Botica: People or other artists forget about the basics……You are the master at what you do….In order to become great in martial arts one has to execute the basics properly….Am I correct? This is the path I’ve chosen to follow. And executing basics properly and being aware of their importance leads to perfection. Everything else will fit properly into its place.
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