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First Light

James C. Sullivan
Artwork Type
Media & Support
Unglazed ceramic
5 ft.x 8 ft.* (1.5 x 2.4 m)
Public Library
Topanga Library
122 Topanga Canyon Drive
Topanga, CA
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Latitude: -118.603476 - Longitude: 34.090048
Image: First Light

Additional Images


Jim Sullivan’s tile rug, titled First Light, is integrated into the floor inside the library’s main entrance and is composed of handmade, unglazed tiles arranged in the pattern of a flame. Sullivan began creating broken tile mosaics years ago after his daughter discovered during a field trip to the Adamson House in Malibu that a broken mosaic threshold at the foot of a doorway presents an obstacle to evil spirits. The artist chose the flame, which historically signifies knowledge and passion, to symbolize the new library’s collected intellect that illuminates the world in which we live.

About the Artist

James (also known as Jim) Sullivan is a current resident of Topanga Canyon. He is the co-founder and owner of Malibu Ceramic Works, a Topanga tile company which replicates the Spanish cuerda seca and cuenca tiles originally produced in the 1920’s. Sullivan utilized his familiarity with the medium of tile in his mosaic work for the Topanga Library. He created a mosaic entry “rug” for the Library’s main entrance from a variety of colorful handmade shaped and broken tiles.