Bonnie Levine is co-owner of Hedone Gallery. She has loved and bought contemporary studio jewelry for many years, determined to become a gallerist when she left the corporate world. That has now happened!
AJF has announced this year’s five 2018 Artist Award finalists: Karin Roy Andersson, Bifei Cao, Corrina Goutos, Aurélie Guillaume, and Jelizaveta Suska. Their work represents a group of outstanding pieces of contemporary jewelry.
For this, the 16th annual AJF Artist Award, the jurors were Swedish collector Inger Wästberg, Australian curator Su san Cohn, and American artist Lynn Batchelder, the winner of the 2016 Artist Award. The jurors met in December and selected the finalists for the 2018 AJF Artist Award from more than 100 applicants. Their choices were based on originality, depth of concept, and quality of craftsmanship. These artists were all 35 years of age or younger at the time of the application deadline. The winner will be announced during Munich Jewellery Week, in March. During the fair, the work of all five finalists will be on exhibit at Platina’s booth in the International Trade Fair hall in Munich, in the Frame area surrounding Schmuck.
AJF asked the finalists to tell us a bit about their backgrounds, the work they submitted for the competition, and their thoughts on the future of the art jewelry field. Here is our interview with Aurélie Guillaume. It’s the fourth of the five interviews with all the artists.
Bonnie Levine: Please introduce yourself to our readers. How did you become interested in jewelry, and what inspires your work?
Aurélie Guillaume: When I was younger, I thought of becoming a graphic designer or an illustrator. I enrolled in graphic design studies but quickly realized most of the work had to be done on a computer; it was not for me at all. I have an aversion to working with computers and couldn’t picture myself doing this. I wanted to work with my hands, so I switched into jewelry without really knowing what to expect. I was hooked after the first day of class. Cartoons and comic books have always had a major influence on my aesthetic sensibilities and my style, but my inspiration comes from my everyday experiences. Sometimes, I like to live my life as if I were part of a cartoon; it makes things a little less serious and little bit more fun. For instance, whenever I go on a walk, I become extra aware of my surroundings. Mundane events such as a squirrel fighting off a seagull in the middle of the street (I found it to be mesmerizing and extremely funny) can become a great source of inspiration.
What does being a finalist mean for you? Do you think it will influence you going forward?
Aurélie Guillaume: Being a finalist for the AJF Artist Award truly comes as a great honor. I feel very fortunate that my work is being recognized at an international level, and to have been selected with such an amazing group of artists!
What excites you about the art jewelry field?
Aurélie Guillaume: My first exposure to art jewelry was at Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h in Montreal, and I remember the excitement I felt in the gallery discovering this whole new world. I was stunned by the vast range of materials that was on display and intrigued by the ideas and concepts behind each work. It’s a field that’s in constant evolution, and I’m always delighted to see all the new works that are coming out.
Any frustrations that you see or have experienced?
Aurélie Guillaume: I’m saddened that this form of jewelry is still widely unknown. I think it’s our role as makers, gallerists, critics, and writers to promote our field and make the public aware of this very unique art form. I constantly find myself trying to explain in the clearest way possible “what is art jewelry,” but it can be quite laborious because of its complexity and unique nature. I always wish there were more spaces to show art jewelry and an audience ready and open to welcome it.
Where do you think the art jewelry field is going?
Aurélie Guillaume: I honestly don’t know. I think it’s a field that’s constantly expanding, and up to this point artists working in art jewelry have shown us they can push the boundaries of the field to the extremes, so I think it could go anywhere from here.
If you could write a master plan for your practice, where would you like to be five years from now?
Aurélie Guillaume: I live my life day by day, and some recent events taught me that plans can be crushed very easily. The beauty of working in the arts is that there are a million and one paths that I could embark on. Up until now, I feel very fortunate to have met people who believe in my work and have helped me push my practice forward, to have participated in many exhibitions internationally, to have gained experience teaching—which is what I love the most—and to have lived in and traveled to new places because of my work. I can only hope to keep this all rolling! I’m curious to see where my practice will take me.
Congratulations again! Thank you very much.