In this project, the neighboring regions of Portugal, Spain, and Italy are represented by closely-packed regions with a shared but varying tile pattern. The tiles (used frequently for architectural ornament in that part of the world) each have a motif more or less reflecting the design ideals of the region.  While the three countries had very different policies and impact during the clipper ship era and colonial period, to me they seemed similar enough culturally to warrant being grouped together.

Also, I’ve tried where possible to represent popular culture, rather than resort to the emblems of kings or religions, though those were very prominent in the days we’re speaking of.


Spain, as we don’t particularly learn in schools in the U.S., is a collection of disparate, previously independent regions each with their own language or dialect, and a fierce desire for autonomy. The “tile pattern” I chose here to represent Spain sadly doesn’t do justice to the cultural variety within the country, but reflects the Arabic and Moorish influences on southern Spanish design and architecture. I know many Spanish would have words with me over this… well many Central Americans would have something to say about Spanish culture being used to represent them also. It’s all a moving target and we have to make a choice somewhere.



The Osborne Bull of 1956 (Designed by Manolo Prieto), has become a popular emblem of Spanish culture, seen on roadsides and sports flags. However I became aware that this is copyrighted: So, this is a depiction of a Spanish bull as Ferdinand, the bull who would rather eat flowers than fight, as written by Munro Leaf. Voila: Satirical artistic statement!

Many of the regions inside what we think of as Spain have strong regional identity, have their own languages, and desire more autonomy or independence. As a symbol of Spain, the bulls are sometimes vandalized by regional independence movements.

Installation Crew

Layout: Liz LaManche
Stencils & Inking: Liz LaManche, Carolyn Flesner