Taking for granted the singular beauty of the French Quarter is something many locals do every day. But when French-born photographer Zee Amer returned to the city after Katrina-imposed exile in Miami, an intensified appreciation for the storied neighborhood stirred him to take his art to a new dimension, the third one. "The French Quarter is so unique," says Amer. "The colors, the architecture I love it all." Day after day, he walked the streets from Canal to Esplanade and Rampart to Decatur sizing up angles, hunting hues and snapping countless pictures along the way. At night, he would download the digital images onto his computer, often working into the wee hours of the morning exaggerating and manipulating the colors.
"I had all of these images, and I thought it would be really nice to make them three dimensional," he explains. After experimenting with ceramic tile, which he decided didn't have the right quality, Amer began mounting the photographs on glass tiles, which gave them a translucent quality further imparted by the clear resin painted on top.
Single tiles can stand alone as table art, which can double as coasters or paper weights, but Amer also likes to combine the tiles into groupings based on color and design which are then sold as plaques. Stafford Tile and Stone (5234 Magazine St., 895-5000) now offers Amer's work to clients who are looking to mix in a dash of colorful art to the tile in their kitchen backsplash or bathroom wall. Amer also has tiles featuring foggy black-and-white cemetery images, and he will create custom tiles upon request.