Tile artisan Jay Reese is accustomed to clients’ quizzical looks over his preferred mode of transportation: the bicycle. They wonder, reasonably, how he’ll transport heavy products from his Odyssey Co-op Gallery studio to their homes. They don’t know that when he’s loaded down with delivery materials, the ardent environmentalist often rents a van — despite his bike-centric beliefs. “[Bikes] cure what ails society,” he says. “Plus setting tiles is hard on the body. Cycling relieves pain, and when I arrive at a job site, I’m warmed up and ready to go.”
Reese installs his handcrafted ceramic tile flooring, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and more through his mythically named Sisyphus Tile. “The Sisyphus myth represents the human condition, and ties with my beliefs about the meaning of life,” he declares. But there’s not a lot of variety in pushing boulders, so in real life his work ranges from traditional symmetrical motifs in muted tones to brightly colored, fantastically cut tiles whose irregular curves echo the innovations of Spanish modernist architect Antoni Gaudí.