BOERUM HILL — Amidst rows of brick-colored homes, one house has been transformed into a work of art.
For more than a decade, Susan Gardner has meticulously created a mosaic on the façade of her Wyckoff Street home, using broken tiles, plates, beads, toys, old CDs, mirrors and other materials.
When Gardner is giving out directions to her home, she usually says, “Go midway down the block. You can’t miss it."
Gardner, 71, who has lived in the neighborhood for 44 years, bought her Boerum Hill home for $7,500, where she raised her four children and now her six dogs, three cats and four birds.
The artist, who retired as the head of the art department at Stern College last year, watched the neighborhood transform from crime-ridden to family-friendly as Brooklyn’s gentrifying community began to take over the block, she said.
When new locals started stripping the paint off their home to give them a brownstone feel, the artist decided to add her own work to the house through a single mosaic flower that still stands beside her front door.
The mosaic now covers most of the home’s façade with images of men, women and children, flowers, angels, among others, said Gardner, who done work as a sculptor, a painter and is also writing an illustrative memoir.
But her home is now a work of public art that she shares with the community, said Gardner, adding that some materials were even donated by locals and neighbors.
“I wanted it to be a part of people’s lives,” she said. “I can create my own fantasy world here.”
After the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Gardner started working on the mosaic more often – an act that became “therapeutic,” she said.
Despite arising from the horror of the event, “it ended up being a very joyful statement,” she said.
Although Gardner said she would only continue the mosaic till the house’s second floor windows, she is still uses the art as a form of therapy, adding touch-ups and new images.
She was even working on it last weekend, after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was announced.
“It’s not ever finished,” she said. “It will end when I end.”