filed under: art, artists, let's chat!, mixed media, personal accessories
i almost thought these delicate jewelry pieces by stephanie simek were trompe l’oeil when i first saw them. i mean, is that really an eggshell? lined with 23k gold foil? really? and there’s no way someone could possibly piece single eyelashes together so precisely, right? and what about that delicate, glowing sea cookie that looks as if it were found and plucked right from the ocean floor and pinned on a blouse? viewing these surreal pieces truly suspends my disbelief. my mind hurtles toward fantastic places and into stephanie’s world, filled with deft skill, technique and Ã©lan. could she be a refined, modern-day willy wonka? let’s have a chat and find out more!
q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i live in portland, oregon in a former hare krishna temple that my partner adam keller and i turned into an art and music space. we host events about once or twice a week. my favorite part of the room is the stage area that has a beautiful scalloped cutout and peaks at the top. it is painted gold, which was like that when we moved in. actually every room in the house is painted a different, bright color. i work on my own projects in the main room when it isn’t being used for shows.
q: what is your background? did you study art formally?
a: i studied at mason gross school of the arts at rutgers university in new jersey. i got my bfa in visual arts with a concentration in photography.
q: on your website i see you have projects in several other disciplines. did you start out making jewelry? is it your favorite way to express yourself creatively?
a: the jewelry line is actually pretty new. i started it about a year ago and am really enjoying exploring the possibilities. but i am just as excited about some of the other things i am currently working on. right now i’m also working on some videos and sound pieces.
q: what compelled you to use these extremely delicate, organic materials in your collection?
a: i think it makes the person wearing it more aware, to the extent where hopefully they feel like they are the guardian of something precious.
q: what has been your biggest challenge in designing jewelry? and how about your biggest reward in being a gallery owner?
a: i like to use materials that aren’t customarily worn on the body, so it’s often a challenge figuring out how to get them to be accommodating. i have to find ways to prevent problems like breakage and decay while still visually maintaining the delicate nature of the object.
as far as owning a gallery, i think experiencing and exposing other people to all kinds of work is the most rewarding aspect of running a place like ours. also, it’s very gratifying to be able to give artists a place to share what they’ve created with other people.
q: what’s the best piece of advice you have ever received regarding your work?
a: keep at it!
q: what is your inspiration to create these pieces?
a: recently it’s been my dreams and the feelings i’m left with when i wake up.
q: can we go anywhere to see your work in person?
a: currently, i don’t have any work on exhibit, but you can purchase my complete wearable collection through my website, and select pieces around the world at the following shops: in chicago at habit, at catbird in brooklyn and pixie market in new york, in sydney at incu, at umi and co. in london, in san francisco at offbeat on haight and at the square room and foxmaid in seattle.
thank you stephanie!