Mosaic Artist

By TACP Staff on July 10, 2021

Mosaic artists create 3-dimensional works of art from hard and solid materials, such as colored glass, tile, stone or other comparable elements. The resulting piece of art, the mosaic, is a popular form of home décor as well as industrial design; and can be found in just about every space which displays unique wall art.

What Is Mosaic Art?

Mosaic art is an ancient art form that has been used for centuries. It is a type of art that is both functional and attractive. Both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans used mosaics for artistic and functional purposes, such as tile floors. Early Christians also used mosaics to adorn walls and floors of churches and other places of worship with scenes from the bible.

This type of art is made using small tiles or chips made from ceramics, stone or glass. These pieces are then glued onto a surface, so that they create a picture or pattern. In order to do this, tiles of several different colors and sizes are usually used.

Some of the most common places to find mosaic art are on floors and walls. For instance, tiled shower stalls and pools are both excellent examples of mosaics. Tiles and chips can also be affixed to other objects, such as vases and tables, to create mosaic art.

What Does a Mosaic Artist Do?

A mosaic artist works to create art from small pieces of tile, glass, or stone. This sort of artist may create mosaics from original ideas or from a client’s specifications. Some mosaic artists might also work to preserve and restore ancient mosaic artwork found in ancient churches and other buildings.

Before any tiles or chips can be laid, a mosaic artist must first get an idea of how he wants the finished piece to look. In order to do this, he will usually draw or sketch his design beforehand on a piece of paper. That design can then be drawn on the object that will be covered with tiles. If the object that is to be covered with tiles is flat, a mosaic artist will also usually lay the tiles on the surface to ensure that they fit properly and look right.

When preparing the tiles, some may need to be cut or snipped. This is usually done to make smaller or specifically shaped pieces. Mosaic artists usually use special tools for this task, including glass cutters and tile nippers.

To begin laying the tiles, a mosaic artist will usually spread a layer of adhesive on a small area of the surface first. Using the lines drawn earlier as a guide, he will then start laying pieces of tile, glass, or stone. These are typically laid down one by one. After each section is completed, the artist will also usually step back to ensure each piece is in its proper position. He will then repeat these steps until his entire project is complete.

Once the adhesive dries, a mosaic artist will then usually apply a layer of grout across the entire surface of the mosaic. This helps hold the pieces in place and helps fill in the gaps between each piece. Any excess grout is then usually scraped and wiped away, leaving grout only between each piece.

Depending on the purpose of the mosaic, an artist may or may not decide to seal the piece to prevent stains and water damage. Certain types of mosaics, like floors and tables, are usually covered with a waterproof sealer. Mosaics that are used purely for decoration, such as vases, may not be sealed, since they are less likely to come in contact with stain-causing substances.

Mosaic Artist Education & Training Requirements

Some individuals who pursue a mosaic art career may not have any formal education. They will typically learn this skill by reading and copious amounts of practice. A formal art education, however, can come in very handy for those interested in mosaic art careers.

Since there are not many colleges and art institutes that offer mosaic art degree programs, though, it can be a bit difficult for an aspiring mosaic artist to choose a degree. Most mosaic artists, however, employ a number of different art techniques when creating their pieces, so a fine art degree is usually sufficient.

For example, mosaic artists often sketch their designs before completing them, so courses in sketching and illustration can be helpful. For mosaic artists that prefer to make their own mosaic tiles, ceramics courses are almost a necessity.

Depending on his preferred career path, a mosaic artist might also want to focus on other types of art education. Individuals interested in creating modern tiled floors or walls, for instance, may want to look into interior design. Aspiring art restorers, on the other hand, should consider a degree in art history and an advanced degree in art restoration or museum studies. 

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Mosaic Artist Salary & Job Outlook


Determining how much a mosaic artist can earn annually can be difficult, especially considering that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not record data specifically about these types of artists. The BLS does, however, record data about a few other related careers. In 2010, for instance, the average annual salary of a craft artist was around $32,010. Interior decorators that offered specialized design services, on the other hand, brought in an average salary of $52,430 in the same year. Art restoration experts also brought had an average salary of roughly $36,660 in 2008. Learn more about Craft Artist & Interior Design Careers.

Job Outlook

A mosaic artist that works as an independent artist will often work as a freelance craft artist. This can usually be done from the comfort of an artist’s own home, but some artists may prefer to rent studio space away from their homes. Mosaic artists interested in creating modern functional works of art, on the other hand, will often be able to find employment with large interior design firms. These businesses often look for professionals who specialize in certain decorating techniques, like mosaics and tile installation. Museums might also be interested in working with mosaic artists, particularly those with a strong background in art history and restoration. These types of artists may work in a museum setting, or they may have opportunities to travel to historic sites and restore mosaic works of art.

Related Careers in Craft & Fine Art

Consider these related careers in Craft and Fine Art.