Oliver Park Dental is a proud supporter of Edmonton’s local art scene. Our office doubles as a beautiful gallery space! Visit us today to appreciate the works of our talented local artists.
Our current collection is from local artist Jeff Meszaros.
Along with a great smile, he has a passion for creating eclectic forms of art. His music inspired bottle cap pieces are a perfect fit for our practice in the Brewery District.
Know a bit more about
Introduce yourself. What is your background?
Hi, I’m Jeff Meszaros, a mosaic artist! I was born in Saskatchewan but lived all over Canada throughout my childhood. After spending my younger years in Ontario and Quebec, I ended up spending my adolescent years in the Edmonton area where I fell in love with music, more specifically piano. I would spend up to 6 hours a day playing until the age of 15 when I started teaching piano myself. After graduating high school, I went to visit my friend in Vancouver and loved the city so much I ended up finding an apartment and staying for three years. While in Vancouver, the music took a back seat to the performance arts. I found myself performing in a few plays and doing some small roles in film and television. After a writer’s strike rendered the film industry lifeless, I decided to travel through South/Central America and ended up back in Edmonton where my love for music became dominant once again. Having played in a handful of bands, recording many albums and touring Western Canada I decided to step back and focus on something a little more self-reliant. And that’s when the idea to make mosaics came to mind.
How did you decide or get started doing bottle cap art? When did you start?
I had a part time job bartending throughout my music career and I noticed how many bottle caps and corks were being thrown out. To me, these were colourful and unique pixels of art. So I started saving them, not exactly sure how I would use them, but I knew it had to be in mosaic form. I started a long trial and error process of figuring out whether or not to flatten the caps, how to fasten them, and what to fasten them to. This took me a few years to get my technique down in an efficient manner, but I’ve been doing this artwork since 2014 and I feel like I have really found my style.
Describe the process of your piece bottle cap piece.
In order to make a piece I first collect the caps from several bars around my area who save caps for me. I then flatten them using a hydraulic press which my father provided me. After they’ve been flattened I sort them into colours, of which there are around 30 different shades. I love producing pieces of people’s faces, especially musicians, so when I have an idea or a commission to recreate someone’s face, I will use a photo and draw out my own paint-by-numbers layout using the contrast of the shadows and lines on the person’s face. I then transfer the image I created onto a piece of plywood with a framed back for strength. With a pneumatic nail gun and very small finishing nails I fix the caps to the wood, layering them like scales on a fish.
Who are some artists you get inspiration from? Are there particular art pieces you admire?
I would say Andy Warhol would be my biggest inspiration as far as style. With the amount of bright colours and pop icons in his work, I feel like I resonate with him the most. As far as upcycle art, there is a small community of artists using caps who keep me inspired and I’m glad that I’m not the only one trying to give new life to “single-use items” (check out these folks on instagram: @moboright @themoorefamilyfolkart @recapsart @taproomtables @awdart @aleabone @capworks804). I also feel like I’m ready to start experimenting with more abstract ideas and create a more unique style of my own, so stay tuned for that!
What subject matter do you like creating the most?
I enjoy recreating musical icons such as John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, and Miles Davis, but I’ve also had the pleasure of making several skyline pieces as well. One of which being a mural of the Edmonton skyline, including the river valley and Muttart Conservatory, commissioned by Bonnie Doon Mal. This is my biggest piece yet at 3 feet by 20 feet with over 21,000 bottle caps. I’ve also been experimenting more and more with wine corks recently and I’m really enjoying how they come together, so you’ll be seeing a lot more cork mosaics now too! I recently just created a cork mosaic of the Selkirk mountain range, and currently I’m working on a Canadian flag out of corks, commissioned to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
What is the process for attaining bottle caps and how many do you currently have in stock?
I have a handful of bars saving their caps for me and I gladly accept donations from anyone who has a collection they want to put to good use. I would estimate my cap stash is around the 100,000 mark, but I haven’t counted all of them so it may be more. The insane thing about that number of caps I have, is that I’m only collecting from about half of a dozen bars, and I create pieces quite consistently. Meaning there are SO many more caps being thrown out just in Edmonton alone. Imagine how many caps are being tossed on a daily basis globally? To me, that’s like throwing out perfectly good paint.
Do you delve into any other forms of artistic expression?
I have been playing music for most of my life and I still really enjoy playing music for myself. I’ve also done numerous acting roles since my return to Edmonton, and usually won’t turn down any opportunity that comes my way. Art has always been a part of my life and always will be.
What is one thing you learned about being an artist in Edmonton?
There are so many talented artists in Edmonton, so I knew that if I wanted to make an impact I would have to create something that is very unique. In that regard, I would say that as challenging as it may be, I’ve learned to not compare myself to other artists. I love what I’m doing and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback — not only about the mosaics I create, but the fact that I am creating art with re-purposed items. If my art can even make people consider how much they throw away that could instead be reused, then I feel I’m doing something right!