Joseph & Sons Mosaic in Los Angeles, is a family business that has been creating mosaic art since the 1960s. Carlos Cohen, an Argentinian native who came to the U.S. in 1958 to pursue an artistic career as an oil painter, happened to stumble upon a mosaic studio in Los Angeles one day while looking for supplemental income and was fascinated by what he saw. Soon after, he was offered the opportunity to work underneath the studio owner, renowned artist, Joseph L. Young, who taught him the ins and outs of mosaics.
After seven years of studying under Young, Cohen quickly acquired a reputation as a “magnificent mosaic muralist,” with many of his works designed and executed for public buildings around Los Angeles. He was also commissioned to create a variety of artworks throughout the U.S. and world until his unfortunate passing in 2011.
Although it’s been almost 10 years since Cohen’s passing, he made sure his legacy would thrive by teaching his two sons, Jason and Joseph, the same trade that he had fallen in love. Jason, who worked alongside his father since he was 10 years old, assisted with the business and several commissioned jobs, but pursued a degree in business, which he currently utilizes in Austin.
While Jason still creates private commissions and personal projects, his older brother, Joseph, who began working with their father at 15, has carried on the family tradition, operating the business with his two sons, Christopher and Jonathan. For the last 25 years, they have created one-of-a-kind mosaic murals and commercial installations.
One of the family’s most recent residential projects, which was designed by Jonathan Cohen, was an outdoor mosaic featuring a tree filled with birds, which was inspired by an Italian artist. “The concept was to bring an Italian field to this Beverly Hills backyard and add in some Fornasetti-inspired birds that the client found off of the wallpaper and asked me to make it in a different illustrated version,” Jonathan Cohen said of the 30-square-foot mural, which is portrayed on the wall behind the outdoor grill.
Joseph & Sons supplied all of the glass used for the 5- x 6-foot mosaic. “We used most of the colors in the spectrum,” Cohen said. “A lot of blues, reds and yellows, as well as brown and green for the trees and nature elements.”
The mosaic was applied with a direct method using products from Laticrete. “For all installations, we like to use the best quality insulation materials such as Laticrete’s 254 Platinum for thinset,” Cohen said. “The grout is always Permacolor from Laticrete.”
While the installation only required two people, it was completed after the outdoor kitchen, so the installers needed to be extra careful. “We had to make sure that the countertop and grill stayed as brand new and clean as possible,” Cohen said. “Therefore, we had to take extra measures into taping off a lot of areas, making sure we covered them with blankets and cleaned them right away.”
With no abnormal challenges, the installation took around five days to complete. “The reaction to these birds has been second to none,” Cohen said. “The owners have thrown a couple of parties since this backyard remodel was finished and we have gotten emails and messages saying how great of a piece this is. Some people say this one is one of the better pieces we have shown.”