The nine columns begin pre-security at Checkpoints 1 and 2.
Using a variety of media, from photography and collage to computer graphics and watercolor paint, nine different artists from around the nation designed images that would be translated into the mosaics you see on the columns. Each column has a circumference of 9.5 feet, and they range in height from around 10 feet to 30 feet tall.
In existence even today are mosaics dating as far back as the 1st century CE. These were created in a similar fashion to Miotto’s columns and remain as beautifully detailed as they were when they were first created.
Despite using the same mosaic materials and technique, you can easily spot the differences in visual texture between the photograph image created by Peter de Lory and the light and colorful painting of Joanne Hammer’s. This effect was achieved through a close working relationship between the artists and Miotto.
The mosaics were fabricated in studios in Carmel, New York, and in Spilimbergo, Italy. The glass tiles (sometimes called smalti) used in these mosaics are created from a “secret recipe” that has been passed down through the Miotto family business for generations. Poured and then cooled, the smalti are cut by hand from pancake-like forms.
The mosaics are made backwards; the front side of each stone is glued down on a paper with common wheat paste. The pieces of paper are irregularly shaped like a jigsaw puzzle so that the seams do not show. The mortar is applied to the backside of each piece and then applied to the column. The paper is removed from the top surface with water and elbow grease to expose the mosaic surface.
Miotto Mosaics has been in business for over twenty years under the leadership of Stephen Miotto. In addition to the New York studio, a 2,500 square foot area with over 30,000 pounds of glass and marble tesserae in stock, Miotto has maintained a longtime affiliation with the Italian Giovanni Travisanutto Studio. The Italian studio is over 5,000 square feet with a vast inventory of both contemporary and historic tesserae.
Miotto completed both his B.F.A. and M.F.A. at Lehman College in New York. In between undergrad and graduate school, Stephen attended the Scuola Mosaico in Spilimbergo, one of the premier schools for the study of traditional mosaics.
Columns are effective "canvases" for public art. Nine artists were chosen to design images for nine columns in Concourse A.