‘Nāmanja’ & ‘Solipsistic’

Recently, I wrote about a piece I made for my friend Anja’s birthday. (Read about the beginnings here: Wave Structures & Loudlives.)

At that time, her birthday was yet to come so, I could not post any pics. Now, I am proud to introduce the finished piece called ‘Nāmanja’. The title derives from the Hawaiian sea goddess Nāmaka and my friend’s first name. Since she is a devoted surfer who loves the Hawaiian islands, I thought it would be a nice touch to go with the sea goddess.

The enameled blue and white piece in the center is inspired by a wave photograph that was taken by Hawaii artist Clark Little. The flower and the blue stones are my way of expressing the feelings I have about Anja: Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my mind when I think of her. Also, vulnerability and strength.

Shortly after the completion of ‘Nāmanja’, another very close friend, Rachel Marsden, had her birthday coming up. Rachel and I met in Shanghai through work. Rachel, and also Anja, are two people who are for me what Rachel usually refers to as ‘corner-stone-friends’.

The piece for Rachel is a very personal one. It started off with Rachel’s favourite word ‘Solipsistic’, a word that has a very special meaning for her and that comes with a nice little story that she sometimes tells people. Rachel is a person who is lost in the world of words. She is obsessed with letters and alphabets, typewriters and books. She is a mega-blogger and a workaholic. Wherever she goes, she takes her camera to take millions of pictures of people, art and food. Sometimes she complains though that not enough people take pictures of her. So, I decided to incorporate her image in the piece. The center showing Rachel’s portrait is made of enamel. Other materials are stainless steel, cubic zirkonia and glass.

Front of the brooch.

Back of the brooch.

The designing and making of those two pieces was pretty straight forward for me. I usually spend a lot of time overthinking every little detail of all of my pieces and I tend to overcomplicate them at times. I quite enjoy the process of designing them but I have to admit that I found that working more from the belly (and not just the brain) can be quite rewarding and satisfying too. I think making a series of smaller, faster ‘belly’-pieces will be something that I will have to experiment with, once I have my new studio up and running. Looking forward to it. I hope you too!

Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com to see more jewellery and join my Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and the ProonK FB page. Thank you.

Wave Structures & LoudLives

The birthday of a very close friend of mine is coming up and for that reason I decided to make her something special.

The current series of work that has been on and off going in my mind for the last year plus, is called ‘LoudLives‘. It all started off with a trigger project that spun around the exhibition outlines of the JAMES show, which was held in Munich at the same time as the Schmuck fair for four years until 2011. For the show ‘The JAMES Days‘, each artist created work based on daily life pictures that were sent to each other.

After I had made the pieces for JAMES, the essence of the concept stuck with me. I was intrigued by using imagery instead of my comfort-zone starting-point: words & headlines. Over the last couple of months, it became more and more clear to me that the real thing that intrigues me in the topic is its closeness to people. So far, most of my work has been based on facts, things that I see in my environment and I make my comments on them/digest them in my work. But now, it seems like I am looking for something that goes a little deeper, underneath the skin. It can be more personal but doesn’t have to be. It can be seen from my point of view but can be seen entirely different. I am intrigued to find which kind of response I will get on a piece, knowing my personal feelings about something/someone and other people being able to recognise their own experiences in it.

Anyway, I decided to get into this direction by making a small piece about my friend. There are several characteristics about her that I would like to show in the piece. She is a very deep character, she thinks a lot, is a little insecure but incredibly strong at the same time. She constantly keeps challenging herself, which is admirable but can sometimes get to a point close to self-destruction. Strength and vulnerability walk together on a very thin line.

Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my head when I think of her.

The main element of the piece will be inspired by the ocean, waves in particular. I started to make some research on waves and stumbled over this really beautiful website by Hawaii based photographer Clark Little. The pictures are amazing! It makes my wish to go and travel to Hawaii even bigger! Shanghai, why can’t you have waves and beaches??? Look at the structures of the waves! Aren’t they beautiful?

A year ago, shortly after the ‘The JAMES Days‘ exhibition, I made the first piece that is going in the direction of the ‘LoudLives’: ‘Flower Lady’

It is based on an old woman who sells flowers on the streets of Shanghai. She has been lurking in the corners of my mind for quite a while now and still is. She really triggered some sort of emotional quest that I am still trying to discover and find answers for.

As mentioned before, I want the ‘LoudLives‘ series to be about people. People who are close to me but also people seen from a distance. How do we interpret people and their behaviour? How and on which level do and can they touch us? How do we touch each other and how can it be expressed? How close do we have to be to each other and which differences does distance in closeness show us? Being in China also means embracing cultural differences, a topic that becomes more and more important with the world rapidly developing into a huge inter-cultural melting pot. It would be very interesting for me to see how people will behave and treat each other in 100, 200 years time, when cultures are even more mixed up.

I think it took me so long to really embrace this topic because I thought it might be a little boring to ‘talk’ about people from only my point of view, since I know that the impressions and experiences of the viewer will always differ from mine and they will never see things the way I do. Also, a lot of artists have worked with that starting point already. But then isn’t there a deep fascination in this concept as well, thinking about the realm of possibilities that one little thought can trigger in different people, although it started off on a very personal emotion?

Picasso kept painting the same women all over again… and the paintings still fulfill me with awe whenever I see them. Working with people might be an old concept but it is still endlessly full of discoveries. Let’s see how far it will take me!