Julia Maria Künnap: Interview

Aaron Decker

Julia Maria KünnapAaron Decker is a recent graduate from Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He is using a grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCCD) to travel in Europe and interview artists. Aaron has been traveling in Portugal and Estonia, and in this, the fourth interview, he talks with Julia Maria Künnap. Aaron is now back in the US and living in Maine with plans to return to Estonia in the future for school. 

Aaron Decker: Julia Maria Künnap is an Estonian artist whose work I can only characterize with the word ‘wonder.’ Striving for perfection, she utilizes techniques that are time consuming, laborious, and intensely meticulous. Her work bridges the gap between the instantaneous and infinity, catching time like a snapshot in a material as eternal as stone. Not looking for words to describe her work, she hopes viewers see it in person, but not just see but look and let the work hit them at their core. Julia Maria Künnap is a graduate from the Estonian Academy of Arts and a practicing artist in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Julia Maria Künnap
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Julia Maria Künnap
Julia Maria Künnap
Julia Maria Künnap
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Ana Albuquerque

Aaron Decker

Ana Albuquerque Aaron Decker is a recent graduate who is using a CCCD (Center for Craft, Creativity and Design) grant to travel in Europe and interview artists. He has been traveling in Lisbon and in this, the third interview in his series, he talks with Ana Albuquerque, a Portuguese jeweler with a smooth, minimal bent. During his time in Portugal he has been the Artist-in-Residence with PIN who, without their assistance, this research and the interviews would not have been possible.

Aaron Decker: Ana Albuquerque is a Portuguese jewelry artist with an expansive view. She has not limited herself to jewelry only but also includes sculpture in her practice. Since 2007 she has been the Vice President of The Association of Portuguese Jewelry (PIN), which is an organization committed to increasing the knowledge about and coverage of Portuguese jewelry. Her familiarity with the subject and of the artists working in Portugal is the reason I chose to get her input.

When did you start studying jewelry? Or if you started with another discipline, what was it and how did you start working in jewelry?

Ana Albuquerque: I have a degree in sculpture from the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, but jewelry was always my goal, because sculpture and jewelry have some characteristics in common. Jewelry has specific qualities that are of the utmost interest to me, like its privileged relationship to the body. The piece of jewelry has its own time of perception and fruition. By wearing it we are aware of its presence, a presence that dissolves into the unconscious, to be felt in one moment and forgotten the next. This subtle relationship fascinates me. Its scale also evokes our human condition and the possibility to relate to art on a daily basis, bringing into our lives and the lives of others a presence that is frequently unavailable. Our houses are the small space that each one of us occupies and they are getting smaller all the time. Jewelry gives us a macro view through a micro size. I tend to identify with jewelry that involves the body with a specific structure. I feel an intense relationship with three-dimensional forms, so I prefer the arts that are related to space: architecture, installations, sculpture, dance and Jewelry.

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Nanna Melland

Aaron Decker

Galerie Specktrum in Munich, Germany, is having an exhibition this month with Nanna Melland. For the second interview in his series, Aaron Decker talks with Nanna and so, with a bit of synchronicity, we will post this interview to accompany her show. Nanna is a Norwegian jeweler of real intensity. And Aaron is a recent graduate who is using a CCCD (Center for Craft, Creativity and Design) grant to travel in Europe and interview artists.

Nanna Melland Aaron Decker: Where did you grow up?     

Nanna Melland: I grew up in Norway, Oslo, a country of natural extremes. From extreme cold and darkness to extreme brightness and almost extreme heat. As a child, I lived two years in Spain with my family.

Were you introduced to jewelry early on?

My father was a painter. He made his living from it. I grew up with that as a possibility. Tone Vigeland, the jewelry artist, was a friend of my parents and she liked my fathers painting, so they swapped. She would get a painting and my mother would get a piece of jewelry from her. From a very early age, I would recognize my mothers whereabouts from the sound of her Tone Vigeland bracelets. Tone Vigeland was my first encounter with contemporary jewelry. She started in the field of craft and now she has ended up in sculpture. Without that link, I do not think I would have gone into contemporary jewelry myself. When I decided to go into the arts, it was difficult to start painting because my father was a painter, so I began with jewelry and it felt very familiar.<--break-><--break->

Where did you study?

Well, many places. Do you mean jewelry school?

Yes.

I first started in a craft school in Oslo and finished a journeyman exam. Then I continued with jewelry design at a school in Copenhagen, Denmark –which by the way I didn’t finish. I only stayed for one year and discovered that I was not a designer. Finally I finished my studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, where I studied with Professor Otto Künzli for six and a half years.

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Nanna Melland
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Leonor Hipolito

Aaron Decker

Aaron Decke Aaron Decker recently approached AJF to publish some interviews with jewelers on the blog. He is a recent graduate of Maine College of Art where he received a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. During his final year he was selected as one of ten Windgate Fellowship Grant recipients for 2012. This award is sponsored by the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and given to outstanding emerging artists in the field of craft. The Award allows young artists to establish a studio practice and expand their work after school. With the grant, Aaron hopes to experience the diversity of jewelers working in Europe by researching their work, practices and environments within which the work is made. He has chosen to concentrate mainly on Portugal, but also on jewelers he meets during his study. The research manifests itself as interviews with artists and organizations that we have elected to publish on the AJF blog. This interview with Leonor Hipolito from Lisbon, Portugal is the first that we will post during the next few months.

Aaron Decker: When did you start studying jewelry?

Leonor Hipolito: 1994. I started studying sculpture in Lisbon, Portugal at Ar.Co (School of Art and Visual Communication) and had a technical education at School Contacto Directo. I wanted to continue with sculpture, but then I switched to jewelry. I was very focused on the relationship of the objects towards the body and jewelry deals with both, the scale and portability. I find it interesting that an idea disseminates through an object that travels, while larger sculptures often are static and may only work in a specific environment. Jewelry is an art form that is in a constant clash with different environments.

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Leonor Hipolito
Leonor Hipolito
Leonor Hipolito
Leonor Hipolito
Leonor Hipolito
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