Joshua Demonte


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Joshua Demonte
31 Monday 31st October 2011

Main image: the Building Bangle

The Wallpaper Bangle

To start, what inspired you to get into such dramatic jewellery & accessory construction?

The source of my initial inspiration was technical achievement. As I was learning to navigate the digital environment, I was excited by the increasingly complex forms I was able to create. One of those forms was a spiral staircase, which was one of the elements that guided me towards the architectural dialogue I centre around.

At the time, the technology that was available to me was great for large, somewhat unrefined surfaces and I didn’t have the ability to really access technology that would allow me to create the intricate forms I was interested in creating on a smaller scale.  So, I decided to push the scale and generate a more direct dialogue between the figure and the architectural forms.

The Cathedral Collar

What, in your view, should sit at the centre of a designer’s creative process?

I believe that the designers’ creative process breaks down into the triad of Concept, Material and Process. I do not view these as three independent facets of design but three co-dependent elements, pushing and pulling on each other through the design process. There is in a way, always a dominant element that I believe directly relates to the artist upbringing of the designer. 

For example, the modern day trans-media artist may not hold a specific material or process but will choose these based on their concept, where a craft specific artist will follow the influence of their process. I consider myself process-oriented (a result of my crafts background) and as a result, my process drives the development of my concept and material choices. This might not be evident by my choice of classical architecture, but can be seen in the final forms the pieces take.

How would you describe the style of your pieces?

I have heard and used terms such as surrealistic or deconstructed. I think I have come to prefer a term such as transformative or translational. A large portion of my imagery is pulled from classical architectural forms. I use the digital environment to transform these architectural forms into objects of adornment.

The Arcade Coil

What’s your creative background like? Are you university-educated, largely self-taught, somewhere in the middle?

I am university educated.  I received my BFA and MFA from Temple University, Tyler School of Art.  I studied under Stanley Lechtzin and Vickie Sedman in the Metals, Jewellery, CAD-CAM area. I inherited my value of process and material from them.  Stanley pioneered the use of electroforming and later CAD in the jewellery world while Vickie has researched and developed the use of machine tools and the use of castable rubbers in jewellery. I find their work to be wonderful examples of process informing concept.

We love the exaggerated lines and form of your designs. Why the choice to glean inspiration from mostly classical forms of architecture and not others? What about that era appeals to you?

All eras appeal to me! I have actually explored styles of architecture from many eras and locations. I have repeatedly returned to classical structures because I find their familiarity engaging, but not distracting. I think this allows my viewers to not only appreciate my ability to replicate, but also notice the form and the way they interact with the human figure.

The Staircase Collar

What resources do you tap into to keep your work modern and relevant?

Google. I am an avid blog reader. Though I do not have a consistent source for my information I love digging through the internet trying to find exciting and new objects.

Which projects are you looking forward to working on in the coming months? What’s next in the pipeline for Josh Demonte?

I am in a phase of restructuring and prioritizing. This fall I began teaching in the Interdisciplinary Object Design area at Towson University. Though I do not intend to abandon the digital processes or jewellery, I am attempting to define the words interdisciplinary and object, while integrating them into my personal work. 


You can see the rest of Joshua’s work on his portfolio site.

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