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Mosaics That Make Us Smile: Lynn Moor

Lynn Moor "Red Dude" 2010 Italian smalti. Original artist unknown.

Sometimes, you just need a smile.

When we really needed one the other day, we remembered these delightful mosaics by Lynn Moor of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Between 2009 and 2010 (and with the appropriate permissions) Moor did a series of mosaics based on original artwork from the Permanent Collection of the Children’s Museum of New York City.

Mosaic fabrication, when it is done well, is much much, more than the simple replication of an artwork done in another medium.  Stephen Miotto, whose studio has collaborated with some of the country’s best artists in producing works for the New York Transit System once told us, ”You can’t copy a work of art (in mosaic).  You have to recreate it to a way that is honest to what the artist wants.

And that is exactly what Moor has done here.  Take a look at the energy in Red Dude.  You can see that the original artist simply could not get the image down on paper fast enough.  There is a visual sense of urgency in the sweeping, strong black lines and solid self-assurance in that gap-toothed grin. Moor honors this exuberance with hand-carved chunks of smalti set in black, pink thin set for those blood-shot eyes and her own exuberant addition of a gleaming gold tooth.  Her mosaic is just as edgy and energy-filled as the original.

Here is the original drawing in crayon for Pigtail Girl.

"Pigtail Girl" Crayon on paper. Artist unknown.

And Moor’s interpretation . . .

"Pigtail Girl" 2009 26 x 29 in Italian smalti. Orignal artist unknown

The “Father of Modern Mosaics”, Gino Severini, once likened the placement of mosaic tesserae to the brushstrokes of Cezanne.  In Pigtail Girl, we see Moor interpreting the original artist’s crayon strokes in an andamento that beautifully mimics the hand of original.  We imagine this to be a self-portrait of a young girl who is just beginning to have an idea of who she is.  Moor captures the sense of tentativeness and inward musing in the original with great affection.

We love Bridge, a child’s vision of the the Brooklyn Bridge in the moonlight.  What a world this child has made!

"Bridge" Paint on paper. Artist unknown.

Moor’s interpretation is no less inventive or filled with wonder.

"Bridge" 2010 18 x 24 in. Italian smalti. Original artist unknown.


Finally, there is our personal favorite, Stickman.  All we know about the original artist is that he/she was three years old when the work was created and that the beautifully naive work has become crumpled and stained over time.

"Stickman" Crayon on manilla paper. Artist unknown, age 3.

Moor’s interpretation is done in marble and smalti on a substrate which she hand-formed.  The use of marble to represent the matte finish of manilla paper, the injection of bits of color to represent the stains without replicating them exactly, the rumpled substrate placed against a flat background of another color – Moor has done such a brilliant job of re-presenting the original Stickman that if one hadn’t seen the original one could easily describe exactly what it looked like.

"Stickman" 2010 38 x 19 in. Italian smalti, marble. Original artist unknown, age 3.

Each of these mosaics by Lynn Moor is an obvious act of love and homage to the original artist.  And that definitely makes us smile.

Lynn Moor makes wonderful original works of her own.  See them at

Enjoy – Nancie


"Red Dude" Detail


Lynn Moor "Red Dude" 2010 Original artist unknown.


"Pigtail Girl" Artist unknown.


"Pigtail Girl" 2009 26 x 29 in Italian smalti. Orignal artist unknown




"Bridge" Paint on paper. Artist unknown.


"Bridge" 2010 18 x 24 in. Italian smalti. Original artist unknown.




"Stickman" Crayon on manilla paper. Artist unknown, age 3.


"Stickman" 2010 38 x 19 in. Italian smalti, marble. Original artist unknown, age 3.



"Red Dude" Detail Lynn Moor  "Red Dude" 2010  Original artist unknown. "Pigtail Girl"  Artist unknown. "Pigtail Girl"  2009  26 x 29 in  Italian smalti.  Orignal artist unknown LynnMoorPigtailGirlDetail "Bridge"  Paint on paper.  Artist unknown. "Bridge" 2010  18 x 24 in.  Italian smalti.  Original artist unknown. LynnMoorBrooklynBridgedetail "Stickman"  Crayon on manilla paper.  Artist unknown, age 3. "Stickman" 2010  38 x 19 in.  Italian smalti, marble.  Original artist unknown, age 3. LynnMoorStickManDetail

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  1. ilona

    These are some of my favorite mosaics of all time! It’s amazing how well they convey spontaneity and exuberance, even though the creation of a mosaic is anything but fast.

  2. Lilian Broca

    Lynn is a master of interpretation. Those painted images are not outstanding in the original medium. Lynn created masterpieces.

  3. Patty chapman

    It made me “smile” to see you featured here. You know what a fan I am, and I’m so happy your wonderful art has been shared with so many here.

  4. Julie

    Lynn and Nancie, thanks for the smile again this morning. Lynn, such technical perfection along with the brilliant interpretation.

  5. Pam Stratton

    lynn you have captured the youthful exuberance of their pictures, I want to see all of them in an exhibit!

  6. Congratulations on Stick Man Lynn — lovely work.

  7. Thanks for this wonderful look at Lynn’s project. These works truly are loving tributes to the imagination and artistic freedom of children. So perfectly captured. Brava, Lynn!

  8. What is it about that stick man? So sweet and wholesome and happy. You rock Lynn – these mosaics make the world a better place :)

  9. I love all that are featured. Very beautifully done and lively at the same time.

  10. Wonderful idea! I’ve wanted to make an interpretations of my daughter’s pictures. Although, now she’s 5 years old and I suppose she would do it better than me:)

    Still I love this project – especially “The Stickman”:))

  11. nice idea and beautifully rendered to boot!

  12. Thanks so much David. I couldn’t have had any better subjects…the kids inspired me so much.

  13. I just love these, so well done, my favorite its the STICK MAN
    -awesome posting- thanks David Lee Csicsko

    • Nancie

      There were more, David. All just fabulous.

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