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Noovo Editions

Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
Noovo seeks not only to be an aesthetic arbiter but also a cultural mediator at the juncture between Fashion, Photography & Jewellery.
A platform to show the highest level of creativity from around the world

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Interviews ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
-----------------------------------------------... .INTERVIEW WITH.......MIKE HOLMES. VELVET DA VINCI GALLERY
 
    Mike Holmes  
 
Opened in 1991, Velvet da Vinci name inspired by an old Perry Mason television episode) is a gallery of contemporary craft specializing in artist jewelry and metalwork. Representing artists from the US, Europe, Latin America and Japan, the quality and range of work shown at Velvet da Vinci has made it a regular must-see stop for collectors, museum curators, and other knowledgeable art and art-jewelry enthusiasts.
Velvet da Vinci organizes 10-12 exhibitions a year including one and two-person shows and important group exhibitions of work from around the world.

How would you define Velvet da Vinci gallery?
It is a gallery of contemporary artist jewelry and craft-based sculpture.

Your gallery was opened in1991 but, what was the most motivation to create this project?
Like many other jewelry galleries we opened first to provide a place to showcase our own work. We were a small group of makers that felt out of step with the more established galleries in the area and felt we could show jewelry in a fresh way.

What is the philosophy behind your gallery since the begining?
Our goal is to feature the most interesting work in an approachable space. Many jewelry galleries are very intimidating looking from the outside and being born and raised Californians we knew that attitude was not right for us. We hope that we can be respectful of the pieces but also be casual in our interactions with people. San Francisco is a liberal city and you can never tell who will buy something. Not judging a book by its cover is important! We also do a lot of education with our customers many of whom have never seen this sort of jewelry before. So often someone may start buying a more conservative piece and as their knowledge and confidence grows they move on to more challenging work.

We can imagine during all these years how contemporary jewellery has changed and developed in many aspects but, what would it be the fact most impressive, remarcable for you?, (even we can apply the same to materials, techniques, concepts, sensations...)?
After 20 years I am happy to report that the jewelry only gets better and better. We look at LOTS of jewelry and overall the quality and ideas are by in large terrific. There seem to be many more artists working beyond traditional approaches to jewelry. 20 years ago most pieces were still very metal-centric and and technique heavy. While we look closely to make sure things are well made there are many other considerations that come into play when we are selecting artists for the gallery. I think now I am more interested in a pieces that have a clear idea and the appropriate degree of technique. I don't want the vitality of the idea to be overwhelmed by technique.

Celebrating twenty years of success and surprise, reconnaissanced and referenced, what is the balance you make along the way?
My business partner Elizabeth and I work very hard and very often our work and private lives are combined. This is not all bad. I met my partner when I was organizing a British show. But one thing we learned many years ago was that not every artist is a good fit no matter how wonderful their work might be. Life is too short. We try to be upfront and honest and expect the same in return. I am happy that we have developed many close friendships with our artists and value those relationships very much. After 20 years it is still a lot of fun.



Velvet da Vinci offers a really interesting world vision of art jewellery nowadays and develops a rich spectrum of contemporary jewellery with emphasis in an international character but, what would it be the common link between the artist you work with?
I guess we are always looking for a fresh approach to a material or way of making. We have specialized in doing international exhibitions as a way of seeking out new talent and exposing out audience to new ideas in jewelry. I think there is still a strong conservative streak in much (but not all!) American work and to be able to show what is happening in Holland or Sweden or Korea or Latin America can only have a positive impact on US makers. And personally I am attracted to work that has a sense of humor. Humor as content but also in technique. It is one of the significant threads in contemporary making. Also I am proud to be able to showcase work with a strong political point of view. I think many galleries shy away from work that some people may feel is too provocative but I think our Anti-War Medal exhibition that toured the world at the height of the Iraq War will be the one show that defines Velvet da Vinci.

Trying to capture this diversity, you represent artists from different continents and countries, consolidated and new generation but, how is this relation with this emerging contemporary art jewelers? how is your search for new talents and what would be the skills that a young talent has to got to get your attention?
We do travel a lot and are lucky to see much student work. We have a long history of giving newcomers their first exhibitions. The internet has made our jobs so much easier. We look at the many good design blogs online and find new people that way. And artists email us all the time and although we are not able to answer every email we really do try! If I could give advice to a young talent it would be to find your vision and work. Work a lot. Just making will enable you to work more efficiently keep your costs down. Although you may not want to consider the price on your artwork it can make a difference when a customer is deciding between your wonderful piece and someone else's.

While the wearing of jewellery may be viewed as a global and basic human instinct since the human being beginning, perhaps the creative impulse that generates the jewellery is subject to a more complex range of factors., searching and questioning attachments and meanings, how do you see the future in contemporary jewellery, and also the evolution of these artists?
I would like to see more people wearing "our" kind of jewelry. Makers of contemporary jewelry should wear their own work or those of their friends just so more is seen in public. There are lots of us out there, show it off! As a man it is an even harder challenge. But it is great to see the reaction when I am wearing a good piece of jewelry. I think the big challenge to all makers of contemporary jewelry is how to survive in a difficult economy. How do you get your work in front of the public? The trend for groups of artists creating their own exhibitions is an exciting development. The pop-up shows in Munich surrounding the Schmuck exhibition is a good example of this.

Do you think it is a palpable difference between the work of European and American jewellery artists?
It is much less now than it used to be. There is still an emphasis on traditional metalworking in the US but the influence of Europe is definitely being felt. There is a freedom about materials that seems to typify much European work that is very refreshing. I have to admit that I have seen a lot of derivative Fritsch-ian work on both sides of the Atlantic!

It seems that keeping the spirit of culture is a hard duty that goes crosscurrent in our times, could you reveal some of the main values you consider essentials to don´t flag?
I guess I am an optimist and that even after 20 years I am enthusiastic about the originality that seems to have no limit.

What is the fun in your work?, are you goint ot celebrate any particular act for this anniversary?
When we were moving from our small old space 7 years ago into an great old furniture factory we questioned ourselves if it was still fun. Without hesitation we both thought that it was and our new much larger space allows us to do so much more. We can have more interesting installations because of our two-story space and abundant natural light. We still like to take chances on upcoming artists and be open to new ways of showing work, all of that is fun. But I guess for me it is the people I get to meet that is the best. Velvet da Vinci has given me terrific friendships all over the world. To celebrate our 20 years we have organized a series of exhibitions that will take place throughout 2011. Our next show is !Genial! New Jewelry from Spain that runs June-July.

What is the overall mission of Velvet da Vinci gallery now?
To showcase and document developments in contemporary jewelry around the world.


More Info: http://www.velvetdavinci.com


 
 
 
 
 
 

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