2nd Place - Emerging Jewelry Artist
Justine Gagnon's winning bracelet shows how a single piece can honor movement and structure at the same time. Justine just completed her studies at l'École de Joaillerie de Montréal last year, and yet her designs have a fresh perspective that is uniquely her own. She is influenced by underground culture, and yet her work is fashion-forward. It is defined by contrasts and contradictions while still being consistent. Justine is currently working as a repair jeweler and lives in Montréal, Canada.
MARLENE RICHEY: TELL US ABOUT YOUR WINNING PIECE, "MONSIEUR."
Justine Gagnon: My bracelet is made of silver sterling and plastic tube. I had a very hard time trying to find the perfect tube with good flexibility and the right size. I had to be very organized because it was a complex piece. This project was way too ambitious for the time I had to do it, so I had to make it fast and hope everything would go well. It took around 40 hours to complete.
MR: WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE WINNING PIECE?
JG: I was inspired by Brutalist architecture, movement and the contrast between straight lines and textures. Minimalist design is also present in my work.
MR: WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE PIECE?
JG: I learned to never underestimate any design, even if it looks simple. Also to keep calm; you can always find a solution to your problems.
MR: DO YOU THINK THIS PIECE WILL INFLUENCE YOUR WORK GOING FORWARD?
JG: For sure. Two years ago I couldn't think of doing something like this. It has certainly taught me I can accomplish pretty much anything I want. It makes me feel secure for the future, whether it is in the jewelry industry or somewhere else.
MR: HOW DOES YOUR WINNING PIECE REFLECT YOUR CURRENT LOOK/DESIGNS/BRAND?
JG: I have an obsession with repetition, movement and contrast. I try to apply this to most of my designs.
MR: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MATERIAL TO WORK WITH?
JG: I don't know yet. I want to try working with new materials, such as wood, resin, pigment and plastic. I want to try something other than precious metals. I want to add colors to my pieces.
MR: ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY TRENDS? IF SO, WHAT IS THE ONE TREND YOU LIKE THE MOST?
JG: I try not to be. I'm am influenced by underground culture. Strangely, these days underground culture is becoming a trend.
MR: WHAT WORK INSPIRES YOU?
JG: A lot of work inspires me, especially the work of the wonderful visual artist David Altmejd, the jeweler Seulgi Kwon, the metalsmith Gabrielle Desmarais, the jeweler David Bielander, the jeweler Aurélie Guillaume, the visual artist Ted Noten and the performance artist Marina Abramovic.
MR: WHAT JEWELER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH OR VISIT?
JG: Seulgi Kwon, because I'm obsessed by her work. I don't understand how she makes her pieces and that is why her work is so beautiful. She is simply amazing.
Interview by Marlene Richey