This fountain sits outside of the entrance of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Outside--as in, you don't have to pay an entrance fee to enjoy it (though the Aquarium is well worth the fee).
The fountain and mosaic were created with Proposition 40 funds to illustrate California's waterways and watersheds, from the mountains to the sea (didn't a newscaster used to say that every night?). The funds also paid for two watershed exhibits and a classroom at the Aquarium.
As for the mosaic, I found these pictures at TND Studio's website. They are apparently the designers, the fabricators, the installers--the ultimate crafters.
TND Studio seems to be Theodora Kurkchiev and Dimitri Lazaroff...and they're right here in San Pedro! Or at least, they were. Not sure where their studio is now.
According to a 2001 article in the Los Angeles Times, the artists emigrated to the US from Bulgaria in 1983, with around $300 to their names.
The Times article was about a mosaicy mural at Disney's California Adventure that the couple made. At the time it was the Largest Ceramic Mural in the World, and was made of 14,500 pieces. The reporter found out that Disney had cut the estimated time to complete the mural in half and asked, "Was there a lot of pressure from Disney?"
Here's what Lazaroff answered: "You know those military parades you would see in Eastern Europe during the Cold War with all the rocket launchers and the tanks going down the street? If you were a tank driver in the Bulgarian army and your tank broke down in the parade, you would be put in prison for four or five years. That was pressure. Making ceramic tiles--that is not pressure."
If you want a real mosaic treat, go here to follow the photos of the Yesterland mural at Disney's California Adventure. It was taken down a few years ago, but if you visited California Adventure 5-10 years ago, it should look familiar.
Prowling around TND's site, I found pictures of their mosaics in Korea, Japan, Vegas, ....even for Citywalk in Universal City (I'll have to blog on that one sometime). But very little about the artists themselves, not even a studio address.
Some are very fine portraits--like this mountain lion who is part of the Aquarium of the Pacific mosaic, but also can be purchased as a separate work of art through galleries. Others are abstract. A lot used special painted tiles, like the tiles of wildlife at this Long Beach fountain. I guess it's best called a mixed-media mosaic.
The work is called "The Wave" and "Rios de la Vida" at the The Wave.