joseph kaftan bio photo

Joseph Kaftan was born in northern Wisconsin. His mother was a newspaper photographer and his father a self-taught sculptor and mosaicist. Joe drew and painted as a child and later studied as a graphic designer. He worked both in freelance and for advertising agencies, designing CD and book covers.

In 2006 he began his first mosaic, as a way to work with his aging father. He didn't finish that first piece until several years later, but when he did, it awakened a renewed interest in the medium and in 2012 he began creating mosaics in earnest.

He makes his home and studio in Seattle on the Puget Sound, and frequently returns to his family cottage on Lake Michigan to make mosaics as well. He spends as much time as he can around the water, teaching kayaking, snorkeling, kayak fishing, racing his surf-ski, foraging shellfish, or walking the beach. He's looking for the most fundamental stories of the water. It is these interactions with nature that excite him to make mosaics.