SEUNG JEON PAIK

1st Place - Silver/ArgentiumĀ® Silver


You can tell at a glance that the art of Seung Jeon Paik is painstakingly crafted. Its universality and inspiration shine clearly through. An MFA student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Seung Jeon creates work that marries conventional metalsmithing techniques with computer-aided design. His winning piece is part of a collection representing the galaxy using small particles. This is his first Saul Bell Design Award.

MARLENE RICHEY: TELL US ABOUT YOUR WINNING PIECE, "UNITY."

Seung Jeon Paik: Everything in the universe is composed of particles. In this respect, the re-combination of particles can be a suitable aesthetic expression to represent naturally occurring forms. This piece represents the galaxy using small particles. The conventional techniques of making jewelry sometimes have limitations for creating these forms, so I developed a technique for composing the floating particles with minimal distraction. The primary technique I use in my work is traditional granulation, which is the process of joining small balls to base strata. I use 32-gauge silver wire as the base strata onto which I fuse the granules of 18K gold. I utilize Rhino 3D software to arrange the wires and the position of the metal grains. Likewise, I laser weld the wires to the frame based on a CAD drawing.

MR: WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE PIECE?

SJP: During the process of creating my collection, including the winning piece, I explored the aesthetics of traditional techniques and applied them in the jewelry making.

MR: DO YOU THINK THIS PIECE WILL INFLUENCE YOUR WORK GOING FORWARD?

SJP: Yes, this piece influenced my other pieces, and my future works will also be related to the reinterpretation of traditional techniques.

MR: WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE PIECE?

SJP: Investigation of the process.

MR: WHAT OTHER TYPES OF WORK HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR LIFE?

SJP: I have experience creating tableware and objects using traditional metalsmithing techniques. Also, I create large-scale sculptures using metalsmithing and CAD techniques.

MR: WHO IS YOUR JEWELRY MENTOR?

SJP: Professor Jay Song. She is one of my supervisors who encouraged me to make a balance between academic studies and the real world.

MR: WHEN ARE YOU MOST CREATIVE?

SJP: Reading art history books and researching technology trends.

MR: WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?

SJP: I believe an artist has to deal with contemporary issues, so I have dealt with jewelry issues and tried to resolve them through creating my pieces.

MR: DESCRIBE THE VERY FIRST PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU MADE? WHEN WAS IT?

SJP: My first jewelry piece was about making form using silicone rubber three years ago. At that time, I was exploring the relationship between the form and tools. So, I created a tool rather than directly creating a form. The silicone was formed on my tool without my touch.

MR: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU MOST LOVE ABOUT YOUR STUDIO?

SJP: My friends. Because we discuss contemporary issues and I receive a lot of good feedback from them.

MR: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TOOL?

SJP: My caliper. It helps me make sure I have done everything accurately. But also it is meaningful to me because it was a gift from my teacher ten years ago for starting my work after school as a metalsmith.

MR: WHAT IS ONE WORD OF ADVICE YOU RECEIVED WHEN STARTING TO MAKE JEWELRY?

SJP: Just keep going. You'll be fine.

MR: WHAT WORK INSPIRES YOU?

SJP: Hermann Junger. Because he was one of the pioneers in the jewelry field and always tried to make a new way at his time.

You can see more of Seung Jeon's work at sjpaikstudio.com.

Interview by Marlene Richey