By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Bob Hudgins celebrated June 2 the completion of a mosaic that took him more than two years to complete.
The need for the project started back in 1998 when his house at 216 Condict Drive near the beach suffered a near miss by tornado. The storm caused a crack in the wall that eventually had to be repaired.
Since Mr. Hudgins has been doing mosaic art for several years, it was only natural he decided to repair the section of wall with a mosaic. After years of working on the wall, friends and neighbors gathered to join his family and celebrate the accomplishment. "The wall is made up of tile, pottery, found objects and materials given to the artist by family, friends, neighbors and visitors to New Smyrna Beach," said Marcia Hudgins, Mr. Hudgins' wife.
"I am inspired by found objects which I incorporate into unique, one-of-a-kind pieces," he said. "I use these found objects along with tiles, glass and pottery to create abstract mosaics often with a whimsical twist"
Once neighbors, friends and family saw what he was doing, they began to donate items for the project. Eventually it grew until it encompassed the entire wall. "Many people stop by to donate something to add to the wall, to photograph the mosaic and to talk to Bob," said Mrs. Hudgins at the celebration.
The wall now sports a riot of color and interesting objects from the red face of a porcelain Buddha to a tiny angel with cupped hands and a large smiling sun. Mr. Hudgins, a native of Orlando, has used his experiences while living in Mexico, California, Alaska and Boston as well as a trip to Barcelona, Spain, to inspire his artwork. He said, "As a child, I loved putting together jigsaw puzzles and I see my work as an extension of that activity."
The whimsical work of artist Antoni Gaudi has been a huge influence on his own art.
Mr. Hudgins has studied with Christy Ann Beguesse in Bucerias, Mexico, and Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia. As a photographer since 1957, using large format black and white film, the transition to colorful mosaics came about in 2000 when he moved to New Smyrna Beach. Mr. Hudgins works with found objects and vibrant colors, which is a complete change from his many years of creating black and white photographs.
"As a photographer, I spent a great deal of time in the darkroom creating images," said Mr. Hudgins. "I find that creating mosaics requires a similar step by step process involving technical skills as well as artistic vision."
He creates a variety of large and small mixed-media mosaics and functional art pieces. Last October he had a successful show at The Hub in downtown New Smyrna Beach on Canal Street where he sold 17 of his 21 works in the one-man show. He is planning another show at the same location in January. In addition to the local shows, his artwork has been displayed in private collections throughout the United States and he is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.