It’s been a few months since we started following Juan José García and his work, which he calls “Joyas de Ilusión” or Jewelry of Illusion. The pieces are the perfect combination of architecture, nature and fantasy, authentically introspective and artistic in the widest sense of the word.
Juan José García Martín
You could say that Juan José García Martín’s vocation came about a little late. He explored other areas of interest, including music, until inevitably, life and the prodding of his mother led him to focus on jewelry, a field in which he feels that he can fully develop his potential.
His work is artisanal, esthetically pleasing and full of emotion and the multi-talented artist, born in Malaga, confesses that music and painting are his main sources of inspiration.
We here at So Catchy! sat down with this inquisitive mind and inexhaustible source of ideas to talk about the jewelry that will touch you, and let your imagination soar.
SO CATCHY!: How did you get started in the world of jewelry?
JUAN JOSÉ GARCÍA: My mother introduced me to it, almost 20 years ago now. At the time I was studying to be an automotive mechanic and I was a little lost, jumping from one thing to the next, joining different bands without much of a future. My mother knew where I was heading!
So I studied a basic jewelry course at a private school in Malaga and, later the following year, I took a course on fine jewelry. I did it on a lark but I loved creating things with my own hands, starting from scratch, and experimenting with new ways to express myself that I hadn’t known about until then. I’m mostly self-taught, and I’m always looking for and experimenting to find new lines for my work. I think you should never stop learning and trying to surprise yourself.
SC!: Where are you working now?
JJG: Right now I’ve got my studio at home. Previously I was in a workshop for 7 years, which was a great experience, but it ended up closing for a number of reasons. I really need a bit of privacy to create, and it was 2007 and the economic crisis was coming down so I closed the shop and moved my studio to my house.
Mis tres demonios
SC!: How would you define your pieces?
JJG: Generally, my work is quite architectural, because of the size and shapes, although I do like to work with pieces that are more organic and that evoke nature through textures, resins or different treatments for the metal, or introducing new materials like wood, copper or methacrylate, etc. At the same time, I do try to combine these two visions but I also play with new, totally different ideas.
SC!: What is your creative process like?
JJG: I almost always start with an idea or motif, which I usually sketch out to preserve the idea. Other times, however, the idea is stronger so I don’t have to draw out anything. I sit at my bench and work and let my hands go with the materials to give shape to ideas with more fluidity. The piece is definitely in charge and it lets you know where you need to go in the creative process. Sometimes the physical representation of the idea is a success from the beginning and other times it’s a longer, slower process that involves more trial and error. I’ll also let some pieces sit for a while and return to them later to further develop the idea.
SC!: On your website you say that you’re inspired by music and painting, and that you bring this to the world of jewelry. You also say that your future work might evolve to bring these disciplines together. Is this represented in your pieces?
JJG: Before I became a jeweler, I was a musician, and for years I was a DJ, so in one way or another this is reflected in my work.
Music is, for me, a constant source of inspiration. I adore almost all types of music, from Flamenco to electronic music to hard rock, so depending on what I’m doing, I opt for one style or another.
As for painting, it’s different, it’s easier to combine with jewelry and I even it can take something away from the world of jewelry, and vice versa. Recently I’ve made a series of brooches that are influenced by my painting style.
SC!: Apart from the Internet, where can we find you pieces?
JJG: Right now I have to points of sale in Germany at Galerie Cebra and Galerie Rheingold. I’ve also worked with Javier Arango in his gallery “La Casa de la Joya” in Galicia, and we’re trying to branch out to Mexico after ending up as a finalist in the “La Colecta” competition and the warm reception my pieces received there.
I’ve also got clients who come to my workshop and ask for specific jewelry pieces, or who come with a special idea about what they want, usually wedding and engagement rings, earrings and brooches.
SC!: Who buys your pieces? When you design your pieces, do you have a specific profile in mind for the person who will wear them?
JJG: As I said, sometime clients come to me with a well-defined idea and in those cases I do think quite a bit about the person who will wear the piece; I don’t want them to have problems with it and I want the result to be pleasing for them, especially with wedding and engagement rings.
But, of course, when I’m working on one of my pieces, I don’t limit myself in any way. Oftentimes I don’t even think about a person, rather a podium or display case for an art collector.
SC!: We are witnessing a revolution in the world of jewelry with the implementation and consolidation of new technologies like 3D. Have you used them in your pieces? How do you see the future of jewelry?
JJG: I don’t use them but I think they are a great advance because they help the creative process and bring a variety of new possibilities to jewelry, or any other field.
The world of jewelry is booming and is an expressive medium for artists. The introduction of new materials will only add to this and make the field more attractive.
SC!: Are there any pieces that you are especially proud of?
JJG: Truthfully, my favorite pieces are almost always the most recent ones that I’ve finished, but more specifically, there is one called “Carnicero” (Butcher), which I find captivating each time I look at it. I love cities and the movement of light at night, so I used a small LED circuit to emit light from inside the piece, and I played with the color of the lights. The front part is made of methacrylate and small paper cutouts, making a sort of collage that creates a labyrinth of streets; I think it would be the perfect brooch for the film “Delicatessen”.
SC!: Are there any jewelry designers that you follow?
JJG: Carles Codina, more than anyone else, because of everything I learned from his books!
SC!: A dream you’ve achieved..
JJG: Being able to live off of my work.
SC!: And one you have yet to…
JJG: To have an exhibition at the Tate Modern or the MoMA
Interview originally published the 2nd of August, 2016
Images courtesy of Juan José García
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla