Self-taught mosaic designer Pam Stein calls herself simply a community artist, which smacks of a do-it-yourself artsy-craftsiness that tends to lower this viewer’s expectations — I prefer to describe Pam, our newest Baltimore Fishbowl resident artist, as an idiosyncratic creative/community activist whose multi-media installations reinvent collage. At her best, Pam dazzles with exuberant color and off-kilter imagery–trees sprout rivers, flowers and feminine faces; imagine Kahlo and Da Vinci merged brains, incorporated found objects, and watched “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” for inspiration.

“My mom was always into trees and has art with trees of all shapes,” Pam says. “I, too, am fascinated with the shapes and structure of trees–they seem to make it in my art even if it’s not the main focus.”

Pam has served as director of the art therapy program at Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore City, helping individual participants learn to integrate into society by way of step-by-step self expression. These days, she’s a stay-at-home artist mom with three young kids. Featured in galleries in and around Baltimore City, including the Walter’s, Pam’s work is often displayed alongside pieces by her therapy clients, whom she has directed and advised; much of her work remains on permanent exhibition in the new Healthcare for the Homeless facility on Fallsway. Currently, Pam participates in Parks and People’s “Nature of Things” show, displaying sculptures built of natural materials on the trails of Leakin Park in Baltimore City.

The artist is currently looking to make commissioned work and new projects. After the installation of two successful outdoor mosaic murals for a client in the Roland Park area, she’s also preparing a community project in her own Evergreen neighborhood. Pam’s own house on Schenley Road in Evergreen is another playful P.S. installation, with hot orange shutters, a blue porch, stars and many moons shimmering. Stunning sculptures (with faces) live on her porch and inside the house. Write to Pam for a tour or to commission a project.

Pam’s work featured here, “Shanti Tree,” uses origami, postcard fragments, found metal, and her grandmother’s jewelry. “Tribal Tree” is made with yarn and glue. The portraits are a collaboration between a homeless artist and a community artist, supervised by Pam.