I have read that an Artist Statement should answer the following three questions:
1. What do you do?
Well, that’s a pretty straightforward one. I design and make crystal encrusted objects to adorn the walls of your home or business. I guess that makes me a wall jeweler.
2. What inspires you?
This one’s almost too easy. The answer is everything. There is nothing that doesn’t inspire me. Grid-like patterns are everywhere in this world we live in, and, with some basic math, most of them can be turned into grids of a standard size to which crystals can then be applied.
3. Why do you do what you do?
This one is a more complicated. The simplest answer is that I have always made things because making things makes me happy. And I have been happiest when the things I make are both beautiful and purposeful, which I believe my crystal collages to be. I hope you do too.
The answer becomes rather involved when I am asked why grids and why crystals? First, why is my work based on grids?
The answer is that I am drawn to grids - by temperament, by ability, and by training.
By temperament… I find order to be beautiful and grids are nothing if not orderly. I derive pleasure from neatly stocked supermarket shelves and the like. This is not OCD, it is an aesthetic choice.
By ability… I find a certain security in working with grids as I cannot draw freehand at all. Not at all. If called upon to draw to save my life, I would surely die. So, like most of us, I do what I can do.
By training… To say that I have had no design training isn’t strictly true. It is more accurate to say that I have had no formal design training, but I did have loads of informal design training working for my father’s boutique advertising agency in the late 1960s. As a one-man shop, he had no compunction about asking his dexterous and artistically inclined 12-year-old daughter to help with the design and execution of the in-house magazine he produced for a large energy company that had absolutely no idea that his entire agency consisted of one very hardworking writer/photographer and his preteen assistant (who was paid quite well for her services). From my father I learned to paste up, a method of creating camera ready pages for publication that predates the use of computer-based desktop publishing programs. This involved pasting columns of type, headlines, photographs, and line art into predetermined positions on a page onto which a grid representing the publication’s columns and margins had been drawn. So, my very first (and clearly formative) design experience was gluing stuff onto grids.
Finally, why do I work with crystals?
I first started working with crystals when I designed a series of birthday cards inspired by the Hall of Gems at The American Museum of Natural History that incorporated actual crystal birthstones. As the cards were sold quite successfully by the Museum and many other vendors over the years, crystals seemed like a logical choice of material when I decided to create wall art.
Compared with my self-revelatory ode to grids above, my other reasons for working with crystals are far more prosaic:
- They are sparkly, and everyone, including me, loves sparkly.
- They come in lots of wonderful colors.
- Every Swarovski™ crystal of a given color and size is exactly the same as any other, making them the dependably uniform objects my very precise collages require.
I hope you enjoy looking at my very precise crystal collages as much as I enjoy making them.
Julia Roshkow, 2018