I found Denise Julia Reytan among recent grads whose stuff really struck me. I like to explore the space between product / industrial design and jewelry / fashion design. Mostly because fashion as an industry and as a concept so bores me now (from the first few minutes of Bruno that I just saw I feel I have a new friend) and design continues to prance on the pin of pure creativity. Hers are items you can wear for a time, or just a party, you choose, and then the object can continue its life as mantelpiece or bookshelf decoration, as conversation piece, as sculpture. These are treasurable lasting objects prime for the time capsule. Again, I’ve made some language tweaks but the words are essentially her own.
I was born and raised in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the beautiful Rhineland. After my school examination I started my education as a state-qualified designer for jewelry and objects at the goldsmith school in Pforzheim. After these three years I went to the University of Applied Science in Düsseldorf to do my diploma. It was a great time – good schools and really good teachers.
Where do you work now?
I am living and working as a self-employed jewelry and product designer in Berlin, which is a wonderful fascinating and inspiring place. Everyday something new pops up. Cultures are mixing (and the results are) crazy new styles.
Did the place you grew up influence your design?
The house I grew up in, (as well as) my parents and my friends have influenced me a lot. My parents are very interested in art and traveling which is why they have such a multicultural style and lots of beautiful things. Since I was a little child I loved to draw and my parents would hang them up. My mother is a graphic designer and has a great style. My father is a goldsmith master and I grew up in and around his workshop. I fell in love with all the glittering stones, and I feel the same for the fancy buttons and colourful bead collections of my mother not to mention all of my beloved stickers. I knew as a little girl, that I wanted to become a designer. Later, a lot of my friends were great illustrators and graffiti writers and I was influenced by them.
But while my home life and my friends influence me (a lot),.. my love for colours and materials influenced me the most.
What is your vision of the future?
Design is where the personality is shaped and reflected. It’s its own language. Democratic design and the sharing of ideas will always be important to me. I want to connect people of all cultures.
What is your favorite time of day to work?
It depends on the work; I like to design and do paperwork in the morning. (I prefer to) paint and concept in the evening.
Do you consciously bring regional or cultural influence into your design?
Yes. For example my degree project was entitled “EINTR8”. For the project, I designed (my own version of traditional costumes, (ones that) I myself would wear. These costumes represent the divers(ity) of cultures that surround me, my social status, the scene I move in, and my interests.
I wanted to develop costumes in harmony with fashion … (taking into account) colours, materials and a brotherhood of regional and global aspects. It is not just one culture that influences me and my style – which is why I combine clothes and objects from my (own) culture and (from) all over the world.
Talk about the materials you use. How did you come to use silicone?
My work is about … the unconditional beauty of colours and shapes and about decorative equality. My jewelry and installations are made of materials which fascinate me, of objects from everyday life, objects of consumption and the environment, which represents me, my culture and the time I am living in.
Sharing my messages of these, my collected and unique objects, is important for me. The rather unconventional technique of silicone casting is a snap-shot of my time and also the culture I am part of.
Do you have a design philosophy?
I work in different directions at once and search for ways to combine diverse disciplines from painting, installation, fashion, to graphic design, video and jewelry (and make it) into something new. That helps me to reflect authentic me, my own style and the culture I’m living in. I like to combine tradition with the spirit of the time and changing values (employing) shape languages, materials, techniques, designs and (various messages circulating) in the world today. I am open minded and always curious..
Do you participate in any other art form? If so, what? (writing, fine arts, dance, etc.?
I love to paint on big canvases and walls. I love to draw and I love to dance. I’ve done these things since I was a little girl. For me everything is connected and these things belong together. When I create jewelry I feel like (I am) painting with materials and when I am painting, I feel like (I am) dancing with colours!
If you have any favorite female writers, artists, etc who are they?
Yeah of course! I love Jenny Saville, Jessica Stockholder, Frida Kahlo, Kara Walker, Iris Bodemer. (And she makes the joke..) “Keitha” Haring, “Christy” Lacroix, “Neolita” Rausch, Muto by Blu and Italo Disco.. haha, I love them all!
Any comments on being a female designer? Is it tough in particular?
I think it is very tough to be a designer in general. Especially when you are self-employed and in the beginning, because you have to manage everything on your own and designing is just a small part of it all in the end.
Where do you retail? Do you sell online?
At the moment I only sell my jewelry by request and I ship all around the world. Just send me an email.
Any blogs or design resources you like that we should check out?
How big a part does the Internet play in your design? In design in general?
The Internet is an important and inspiring source for my work, (or sharing, communicating, looking online for inspiration. (My one digital design was) a “cable chain” with audio- and USB-cables, but other than that I am more influenced by nature in my work.
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