By: Rianna Turner
Corpus Christi’s most recent public art installation has found its home at Fire Station 18 on Saratoga and Ayers. This is the perfect place for it, too — the mosaic, commissioned by the city, depicts a firefighter entering the flames.
The mosaic is entitled “Stay Together, Breathe.” Jeremiah Heye, the creator of the mosaic, drew inspiration from his own experiences as a firefighter in San Antonio. Heye has been a firefighter for over 14 years now, most recently as a paramedic. “Stay Together, Breathe” is what Heye tells himself before he enters a big situation, to remind himself of crew integrity and collectedness.
The process of creating the mosaic took approximately 10 months, and some of that time was focused on creating a design that would resonate with the public, especially firefighters. Heye presented about 10 designs to fellow firefighters, and the design for “Stay Together, Breathe” won the vote.
Heye, the artist of Heye Mosaics in San Antonio, connects to the laboriousness of creating mosaics — a laboriousness shared in his job as a firefighter and his upbringing on a farm. He always wanted to be an artist, but found the stillness involved in painting and drawing grating. But, even though he’s found a form of art he connects with, he doesn’t refer to himself as an artist, just yet. “I’ve become a good craftsman, and I consider myself so,” Heye said. “I do not consider myself an artist, but I strive to be.”
Heye said he just hopes that people will run their hands across the mosaic and enjoy the work, but its vibrancy and twisting flames will surely evoke an emotional response in those who experience it.