Mexican Artist Adorns Nosara’s Walls with Mosaics

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It’s partly about patience—the patience of cutting colorful tiles into tiny pieces-, then arranging and bonding them piece by piece to a surface and later filling in the lines with grout while carefully cleaning the grout from the tiles so their brilliance shines in the completed mosaic. Artist Juan Carlos Saldaña compares this last step to giving the tiles a facial.

But Saldaña’s mosaics involve much more than testing his patience. They are also an aesthetic combination of carefully selected colors, proportions, details, simplicity, thought-provoking themes and symbolism. Saldaña believes that as an artist, he should “open spaces to reflect, making people uncomfortable but in a good sense.”

To that end, he selects symbolic, spiritual themes that express freedom and reflect what we are as human beings. When choosing colors, both for the tiles and the walls on which they are displayed, he looks to create unpredictable combinations and contrasts.  

Many of his mosaics also reflect the beauty of nature with waves, butterflies, monkeys, leaves and clouds, in some cases extending past the edge of the mosaic to add a sense of motion and space to what could otherwise be confined to a rigid rectangle.

Saldaña was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and studied fine arts at CEDART José Clemente Orozco, which is a school created by the National Council for Culture and Arts of the National Institute of Fine Arts.

In the past, he has organized local displays of photography and paintings, but recently he has been concentrating his artistic efforts to mosaics because the medium is well suited for this climate since it won’t be damaged by insects or humidity.

He created his first mural 11 years ago in a sanctuary in Bolivia, creating a design of Hindu patterns and a mandala on the ground around a giant tree. Now his mosaics can be seen in many area hotels and private houses, as well as at Del Mar Academy, where he also teaches art.

In addition, Saldaña balances his time as a husband, father and operating a spa.

To see more of his art, visit: