Seeing as we are rapidly winging our way towards Christmas here at Tokyo Telephone I thought I would go ahead and leave a not-so-subtle hint as to what I would like to receive from Santa this year. Now, I am not a chap with any need for any more jewelery, but if there was any single artist to make me greedy for more it would have to be – Legio Made. What is perhaps most remarkable is that this is a guy who relies purely on sculpture to achieve this impact, not unlike my other recent discovery Senju. What is criminal about both those brands is that if I had not tripped over them at various trade shows I would not even have heard of them. For the record I first became aware of Legio Made at this year’s Shibuya Silver Creators Exhibition, and trust me, it was love at first sight.
Continue reading for a closer look at these masterpieces and why this is one brand to watch in 2011.
Taking inspiration from mythologies of the world, Legio Made presents a visceral, occasionally uncomfortable version of nature and myth. His real gift is to find themes rarely explored in jewelery – such as mollusks – and making them masculine and beautiful at the same time. Perhaps it is that combination of the ugly subject with the traditionally beautiful framing around that focus that makes his work work. Either way, you simply have to admire the craft of these pieces.
The designer had previously been the head silver-smith for a very well-know brand (who he would not thank me for revealing…) where he was stuck making the usual luxury gothic motifs and twee pair pendents for couples. How liberating it must have been to break out 100g of silver and make something as powerful as the above.
Sometimes with his work you just need to take a moment to see exactly what is going on in his work, and he has taken the path that netsuke took of making it impossible to view the entire subject from a single angle. In this case you catch sight of a different skull as you move the ring around.
I understand if some of this is a bit uncomfortable, but surely even if you would not wear it, you can appreciate the work that has gone into it as well as the clear artistic vision behind it.
And just when you thought the guy had reached his peak, he does exactly the same carving in stone, shell and ivory as he does in silver. I always maintain that the true test of a jewelery designer is his skill with carving – here you cannot hide behind anything and your true artistic ability is laid bare to scrutinise. Needless to say Legio Made excells here even amongst the netsuke that demand millions of yen. (I wish I had a clearer example to show you than the above – trust me, he is that good)
Sorry to get a bit grandiose there, but silver is one of those things that I tend to get a little too excited about and when it is this good, who can blame me? What I still find astonishing is why this kind of silver-work is not recognised the world over, where brands like Chrome Hearts remain king. I think the more apacite question is why this is a brand not picked up even in Japanese magazines?
Well, I will do my bit in supporting them, you can check them out at their very new site here, and as for an actual shop I am afraid you will have to wait. There is one place that stocks a handful of pieces in Ueno Amedori, but I can’t stress enough that this is a designer that deserves so much more.