If you've been around the valley on a weekend lately, you might have noticed all the festivals happening from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Being a local artist, whether it be in a professional sense or all the way to part-time crafter, has transformed in recent years to begin a viable second job on the side where you can sell your good at any number of events around the city on a weekly basis and get your name out as the thing to own. One of the local artists who has seen great success this way is Annika Quinn DiMeo, who has been making hew own brand of jewelry for over three years and has become a staple of the craft circuit in Utah. Today we chat with her about her jewelry and the style she's created. (All pictures courtesy of DiMeo.
Gavin: First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a mom, wife, daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend. I’m a local, a libertarian, music fan, food/wine/beer tasting, Comcast-hating kind of people person.
Gavin: What first caught your eye about jewelry and what drew you toward it more in terms of art?
It began as a need for me. I “needed” some pieces that I could not find, so I made them. I “needed” to create something. The more I made the more I realized I could speak through design. Wearing jewelry is as old as time, it an intriguing way to decorate the body.
Gavin: What specifically drew your attention toward metalwork and molding?
I have a lot of respect for metal for its ability to be reinvented and utilized. I love each metal's characteristics in terms of malleability, in addition to color, luster and patina.
Gavin: What was it like for you learning the artform and creating your own pieces?
Extremely gratifying and occasionally discouraging. The more I began to explore metal, the more I realized how much I did not know. I feel as though this is my version of an epic journey where I am being challenged and rewarded all at the same time.
Gavin: How did the idea come about for you to design your own jewelry, and what made you choose to do it under your own name rather than make a brand name?
The idea to design jewelry was my sister's. She is a very passionate and beautiful person and basically demanded that I begin to think larger-scale and continue this journey, I owe a lot to her. Choosing to name my business after myself was a way for me to take credit for each piece that I create, much like a signature.
Gavin: What were your first designs like and how was it for you defining the look of your creations?
My first designs were a bit more raw, I feel as though I am consistently refining. I think the “look” of any artist or designer is based on their nature. I never knew I had a look until people started telling me I did.
Gavin: What made you go more toward a gold look above other metals or styles?
I enjoy the historical context of gold and its look in reference to ancient civilizations as well as its lavishness in monarchical and aristocratic society. It’s warm color appeals to me. I enjoy mixing silver, brass and copper with each other although, sometimes I think it’s necessary that the metal stands alone.
Gavin: What's the process like for you in creating a brand new piece of jewelry, from concept to final product?
Each piece I have made tends to have its own story of origin. Some happen planned, most happen by mistake.
Gavin: Do you tend to change it as things progress or do you stick to your original idea?
I try to adapt as much as possible. I can’t stay in the bummer-box of failure, it will make me miserable.
Gavin: What was it like for you breaking out into the craft circuit and selling your wears around the state?
Totally fun and intimidating! It humbles me that others like my stuff. I have loads of respect for other artists who do the same.
Gavin: How would you say your style has developed over the years from when you first started until now? And how much of a challenge is it?
My style continues to develop based on technique and time spent in the studio. When I started it was more of a hobby, now I look at it as a way of life.
Gavin: Are you looking to add more items to the catalog as you continue to grow?
Definitely. In fact, I have about 20-30 new items but I find myself lost when doing the business and back-end of AQ. Hoping to get an intern to help with posts and photos.
Gavin: For those who are looking for a custom design, what do they need and how can they order it?
Custom work is tricky. At this point, I think I will focus on my own work until I can open that door.
Gavin: Aside form the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
I would like to promote the idea of supporting public radio and television. Oh, and come see me at Craft Lake City this August, too!