Friday, September 25, 2015

Q&A with Variance Objects Designer, Nicole Remedio

A trained landscape architect and self-taught jeweler, Nicole Remedio is exactly the kind of artist we enjoy working with — disciplined, driven but grounded. Her work challenges the typical aesthetics of fine jewelry by employing hand-cut stones, mixing metals, and "anti-polish" attitude that we love. Here she talks about her art and what inspires her: 

Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Shaker Heights Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.  My parents still live in the house I grew up in.  It's a beautiful suburb, but still a suburb.  

We were automatically drawn to the rawness of Variance Objects pieces. Why do you prefer to use uncut stones and materials as opposed to more polished, processed ones?
Actually, all of our stones are cut and polished in our studio, but we cut them in a way that leaves their rough, natural character intact, so they appear to be uncut.  I love seeing the natural formations of stones.  In a way I find their natural state more evocative than the spectacular flawless faceted form they usually take in fine jewelry.  By approaching a gem with a different set of priorities it frees us up to rough beauty instead of human mastery.

You were trained in architecture, specifically landscape architecture— how does that play into your work, be it the designs, the process, or just your point of view?
There are ways that placing a stone on a band is like siting a building on a hillside; there's a relational balance between them that can be beautiful.  Also, I learned about rigorous process and how to design in grad school. Both of those things were helpful in the early stages of Variance and continue to benefit me as I Variance evolves, but most of all Architecture taught me what I didn't want my life to look like.  I learned that I just wasn't good at working in an office, and working on projects that I couldn't wrap my hands around.  I realized that I needed to take a sharp left turn and be an artist.

If you had to switch lives with another designer or artist, who would you choose?
Jimi Hendrix.  It seems like he was on another plane and I think I'd like to experience what it was like for him as an artist.  

What’s the best part of being in a creative/business relationship with your partner, Scott?
It allows me to be fully absorbed, but really we both are.  Variance is a project between us as much as it is my artistic pursuit.  To have a set of eyes that can look at the work with the same intimacy and investment as I have, but totally fresh and unbiased (usually) is invaluable.  Also there is a process between me completing a piece and Scott photographing the piece that is invaluable. I am able to see things in the piece through his photography that I didn't see with my eyes.  In a way it really speeds up and simplifies my internal design process.  Having a business takes so much determination, focus, and time, so it is really nice that we can be in it together.  We work a lot, but it doesn't (usually) feel like work, just art and life.
Describe your ultimate day off.
Hmmm.  These don't come very often, so I'll make it extra ultimate. Scott and I start off with good pot of Puerh tea, then a long walk either through the city or a good walking beach.  Then lunch, maybe Gracias Madre if we're in SF.  Then perhaps the Alameda flea market is happening magically in the afternoon for my day off, so we go there, find some killer scores, like a pair of Art Nouveau plique-à-jour day/night earrings and a couple of vintage Hermes bags.  Then we run into some friends and we all go to dinner somewhere fun.  Finally, we drive home at sunset on Hwy 1.  At home we immerse ourselves in multiple episodes of some great Netflix series.

What are you reading right now? What songs are playing in the studio while you’re working?
We listen to audio books in the studio and we just finished In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen, and before that was The People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.  When we play music, it is usually a Pandora station of either Bob Marley or Krishna Das.

Favorite snacks, type of weather, philosopher, place to go to think?
Cashew cheese and spicy pumpkin seeds on a seaweed rice cake.  Or a dark Ecuadorian mocha from Mutari chocolate.  

What’s your vision of Variance Objects for the next few years?
Refinement in both process and product.  As we grow we are constantly shown ways we can improve, so our goal is to always see those ways and take those opportunities.

No comments

Post a Comment