SURFACE/CAST - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
As Monday grabs us firmly by the balls, ready to thrust us into the depths of another relentless working week, we take some pleasure from the impending gloom with the latest interview from our collective of designers.
Surface/Cast; For those of you who are unfamiliar we have championed this progressive label from the early stages of of it's origin. Surface/Cast is a contemporary jewellery and home décor label hand crafted in the flames of Brisbane Australia. The logo symbolises the philosophy behind surface cast, representing the duplication process from original to final sculptural piece. The label has a deep connection to Australian natural resources, crafting each piece with Australian outback red sand, rutile sand and iron, creating an interesting aesthetic dissection bringing two polar entities together in wearable and sculptural forms.
Uncon: Luke, let us begin by exploring your childhood, what kind of a youngster were you?
Luke: As a child I was quite reserved, yet at times disruptive.
Uncon: Could you recall a unique moment that perhaps served as a trigger for you to explore jewellery design?
Luke: Fashion has always interested me, I started off making electronic music transitioning between that and photography. The photography was probably a starting point for my fixation in making jewellery. It began when a lecturer encouraged me to shoot my own images for a layout design, as part of an assignment I was completing at the time. I took his advice however my knowledge of cameras at the time was very infantile. After a few initial shoots and adjusting to the medium I was hooked. Capturing architecture and large forms became a daily activity.
Throughout this transition I quit my band and began making jewellery. Unknown to myself, perhaps unconsciously, my interests in brutalist and minimal architecture actualised into concrete, silver and structural forms.
Uncon: Your work is deep, meaningful and so rich in craftsmanship. How reflective are you in your craft?
Luke: Sculpting and manipulating pieces in the moment really opens up the possibility to the creation of something new and interesting. Experimentation in my studio often informs my process and outcomes. This leads to an experiential knowledge in my making process that I try to apply intuitively to each piece.
Uncon: How do you define your particular style or approach to jewellery craft?
Luke: I think of my work as sculptural, primitive, minimal, functional and brutalist.
Uncon: How would you like for your designs to be appropriated, when they journey onto your clients?
Luke: Depending on each piece, some can be very dominating statement pieces and others mesh well, in the end its all about balance and composition on the body. What I hope for ultimately, is that the client makes their mark on the piece through their wearing and everyday movements. The piece will then take on a new threshold facilitated by the client’s daily activity.
Uncon: What do you believe is the most important characteristic of a piece of jewellery?
Luke: A piece of jewellery represents a signature of absolute time and causality; as the piece passes through each phase of manipulation and distortion to become the final form. The most important characteristic for me is the texture, weight, tooled marks and the way it mounts your finger. Finally, the authenticity of the traces of time that become visible on the final form.
Uncon: What are the main influences of your design process, and what guided you to this way of design?
Luke: My main influences are architecture, philosophy, photography, land art, arte povera, artisanal fashion and spaces.
My interest in fashion always gravitated towards artisanal fashion. My first encounter with dark fashion was with Nat the owner of Fallow Store; I was introduced to her by a bandmate at the time. Her store made an impact on me as I was drawn to its strong aesthetic and it lead to my interest in dark fashion. Nat took an interest in my works, her encouragement directed my focus to making jewellery and objects as a full time label. This is when my photography and jewellery became interconnected in my design.
Uncon: Originality and authenticity are important factors in your design process, How do you stay at forefront of avant-garde jewellery?
Luke: Reading is a big factor in leading my design. I invest at least an hour or more each day to reading philosophical texts and taking photographs. It is also important to expose myself to art, fashion and travel. This helps me to constantly challenge myself to create innovative works. Another factor is actually making the works though experimentation and acting on ideas – especially acting on ideas while they are resonating in my conscious, that leads to originality and authenticity.
Uncon: We spoke of inspirations before. I am intrigued to ask you more about the artists that you feel drawn to emotionally?
Luke: The conceptual work of Joseph Beuys resonates with me. His anti-establishment approach to his art practice and everything he has accomplished sets an important example of how we can challenge the structures of this conservative present. For many other reasons I am also drawn to artwork by Pier Paolo Calzolari, Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, James Turrel, Walter De Maria, Jannis Kounellis, and many more, too many to list. They all represent passionate and often radical thinkers.
Uncon: What makes Surface / Cast, truly Surface / Cast?
Luke: What makes Surface / Cast authentic, is the sculptural process in each piece. As it begins the journey from rudimentary shape to finish form. The process can sometimes take a lot of adjustments with subtraction, additions to working the pieces. Consistent in all my collections to date, is the initial process that uses unique sand, metal and concrete as starting point. But each collection seems to adapt and develop contributing to a new focus of Surface / Cast seasonally.
Uncon: What is the ethos behind your latest collection “Void”?
Luke: The creation of VOID was inspired by land artist Michael Heizer. He makes huge sculptures out of the landscape that have a large impact on their natural setting. One aspect that stayed with me was his notion of a void being the absence of matter. I felt this connected with my work as my pieces often entail subtracting mass from form. The process habitually carried out in a brutal fashion with various tools to achieve the final structure of a piece. Often working in solitude to construct monumental sites, Heizer’s approach to constructing work resonates with my own approach to jewellery – thus the creation of VOID.
Uncon: What advice would you give young designers starting out?
Luke: Make sure you experiment and make as many mistakes as you need to achieve your vision. Don’t get caught up on what you think will sell. As there’s very much a conservative sameness in this epoch. Develop your own style this will enable you to create your own design language. Discipline your time. I work methodically, I construct lists of how I will be spending my time getting the most out of my day. I believe this to be incredibly important to achieving goals and allowing focus to fully connect to your medium.
Uncon: What does Surface / Cast as a brand hope to contribute to the future of jewellery design?
Luke: I would like Surface / Cast to grow and develop with time. Jewellery design will always be a big part of the process but I would like to see my label grow and expand into new and exciting directions. There are always new opportunities that present themselves, some that I could have never anticipated, so I am often surprised myself by the projects that Surface / Cast leads into. The objects are led by the process, just as the label is led by opportunities and vision.