Juror: emiko oye
What led you to study metalsmithing/jewelry making? Please mention your school and year of study.
I had taken two years of Jewelry courses in my high school in LA county, I really loved it. I entered California College of the arts in 2012 as a painter initially, but I chose CCA knowing they had a good jewelry program and that I could take some courses on the side. But after I took my first Jewelry class with Marilyn da Silva, I was certain that this was what I wanted to do. Something about the three dimensional wearable art form stole my heart and I could not be more fortunate to have found it.
What intrigues you most about this field/craft?
Metal alone is an amazing and fascinating medium, it has so many forms and the way its memory works is captivating. Besides just the medium that I regard, what drew me to jewelry specifically is its relation to the body. All art is meant to connect with the viewer but jewelry has a direct correlation to the body that all art isn’t so fortunate to attain. People are so used to “do not touch” at the museums but jewelry is always interactive; it is made to be touched, felt, to be worn. It gains an appreciation from the wearer that is unlike anything else. The feeling of being a maker and being able to affect someone through my work in this way, is what drives me to create. This is why I choose Jewelry.
What are your plans after graduation—both realistically and ideally?
Now that I have graduated, this past May 2016, I plan to continue my art practice in any way that I can. Because I came straight from high school to college I know that I want to take some time off school before thinking of grad school, but as far as concrete plans for the future, I am still feeling those out. For right now I am working on my professional profile as an artist and looking for work in the Jewelry/Metal Arts field. I plan on branching out as a professional Jeweler and building my personal brand.
What do you wish your school’s program would offer, or what did you enjoy about your program?
CCA has a more than an amazing Jewelry/ Metal Arts program. The Jewelry professors are all insanely motivational, inspiring and greatly gifted in the craft. To learn from such talented individuals is more then anything I could ask for. My time at CCA built me into the confident, talented and creative craftsperson and artist that I am today, and I have my professors and peers to thank for that.
Are there any metal artists whose work inspires you—what it is about their work that is inspiring?
One of the first Metal Artists to inspire me was the one and only Rene Lalique. He is very well known in the art world and captivated me beyond belief. I am someone with a deep admiration for nature and the world around me, and this is also true for Lalique as most of his imagery is realistic representations of botany and entomology. The way Lalique uses lifelike images and forms but combines them in new ways to create such aesthetically pleasing arrangements really motivated me. Besides Lalique I am really very inspired by my friends and artistic peers, who engage and challenge me regularly.
If you were given the time and means to create your ultimate work, what would it be?
Right now, I don’t know what my “ultimate work” would consist of. I would love to have the time and means to be able to continue learning more formal metal smithing skills. Maybe master goldsmithing without having to consider the cost of the medium. I really still feel very fresh, and that there is much more for me to explore in my craft and so maybe I am my ultimate work and I just want add to my abilities.
What are you currently working on? Any upcoming shows or events to plug?
I am currently working on building my brand. I feel pretty good about where I am for only just graduating a few months ago. But I definitely need to work on the production of my work. As I am starting to put more focus on my production lines I am starting to understand what it means to be a professional artist and how challenging it can be. But I am still very enthused and have already begun to sell pieces which helps keeps me motivated. Next step after entering more craft/trade shows, is working on getting some work in local business’s and galleries so I can sell beyond just independently.
Any words of wisdom you would offer prospective metal arts students?
I would start out by saying, its hard, its really hard. But if you understand that from the start that this journey really does means blood sweat and tears and you can accept that, then you will be beyond satisfied with the life that Jewelry/ Metal Arts supplies. It’s competitive and challenging and stimulating and extraordinary. Give it everything you’ve got, it deserves it all.