Darius, can you give us an overview of your history as an artist and jewellery maker?
I began making art from quite an early age mainly due to my mother’s influence. The first time I became serious about it was when I was 15 and decided to start taking pottery classes after watching an advertisement about a new type of liquid band aid that featured a woman throwing a vase on a wheel after she’d applied it to her cut. Ceramic slip poured between the wounds of her fingers as the vase she’d thrown crumbled in her hands. I remember strange moments like this causing me to become fascinated by such materials.
My mother would drive me every weekend to a short course centre at Monash University where I was taught pottery by Brendan Chivers. Mum would laminate and barcode books for my school’s library and the conversations we’d have on the drive up and back from Monash were some of the most formative times our relationship. Brendan was a very care free potter and teacher who was very generous with his time and gifting with his art. When he fell in love and moved overseas I struggled to find a mentor like him and still haven’t found one since.
Then I began studying at RMIT majoring in Ceramics and picking up classes in Jewellery. My training and experiences at RMIT weren’t ideal. However, my ceramics teacher Kris Coad and the jewellery technician Terry Cockrem managed to inspire me to continue producing work. During this time the representations Andrea Simmons, Robyn Delacroix and Stevie Leslie manifested and formed the studio Cashmere Malekitsch as facets of my practice.
How would you describe your sculpture practice? can you speak about the thought behind your recent work in (the honey moon suite show).
The work ‘Daddy’ for the honeymoon suite served as an epitaph to my relationship with my father, a relationship that’s evaporated into catching up at a cafe once or twice a year. The lichen covered car bonnet with a thick layer of silicone acted as tombstone for me to inscribe tufts of human hair in the silhouettes of coffee ferns. The phosphorescence that’s been painted onto the lichen goes unnoticed until the lights go out or when a UV torch passes over it which I’ll be incorporating into a performance work at some point.
Can you discuss your movements from clay to sculpture to jewellery?
The material languages of clay and metal, sculpting and jeweling have profoundly influenced each other within my practice. Constantly evaluating the weight and materiality and chemical transitions intrinsic to a material is a really important way of thinking about something’s life and memory as an object.
Clay is a material that is quite bodily – it retains the history of its touches, and transitions from a state of silky softness to an aggressive hardness. Everything that comes out of the studio seems to go through this material transition from soft to hard. The same goes for the lost wax process. It’s probably one of my favourite materials because of how forgiving it is and the post-cast oxides and patina finishes on metal are almost identical to the glazing process in ceramics. While most industrial pottery and jewellery manufacturing is about hiding these imperfections I’ve found it more exciting to let the materials behave the way they would as a way of honouring their essence.
How do the spaces of fashion, craft, design and art interrelate with your studio practice, dare I ask which you prefer?
I definitely have a preference for the nuances in art and design and the finicky methods in craft. At the moment I’m finding the fashion world pretty abrasive – especially on social media – although I’ve been meeting some really lovely stylists and photographers while helping out with photo shoots and I’m starting to incorporate more of these elements into my practice and think about composition and displays in different ways to my work as a florist. Working in the studio at the moment is kind of like when you collate an outfit together before you leave the house or when you organise flowers in a vase or when you display a meal on a plate. Harmonising things that have the same texture weight and colour doesn’t really interest me that much but smushing contrasting things together that somehow balance and harmonise with each other is what keeps me going. I love having a messy desk for this reason and I find its really enjoyable having a studio practice that intersects all these areas cause I get to expand my visual and sculptural vocabulary. I’m returning to photography at the moment and making somewhat of an installation carnival in my photo booth, I’m not really sure why but something good is coming out of it.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently edging towards a few projects; a chandelier with a collection of wearable earrings as its crystals; a ceramic tableware collection; a bronze cutlery set; a selection of selective laser sintered floristry frogs; some more 2D silicone works and a pair of sunglasses with ruby lenses.
Well we are thrilled to see! Darius thank you for your time x