Bejeweled Pistols and Guns That Can Melt

Bejeweled Pistols and Guns That Can Melt


A provocative exhibition by the Dutch artist Rian de Jong tackles the warm-button issue of guns. Generating creative use of resources these as paraffin wax, plastic foam, and twigs, de Jong has created jewellery and objects in the shape of guns that express her shock and outrage around the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. The exhibition, at Gallery Loupe, in Montclair, NJ, closes Might 21, 2022.

Rian de Jong in Lannemezan, France, donning Hey Guys, Shoot That Damn Thing, 2020, pendant, cardboard, coral, acrylic, gold-plated chain, image courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Altmann: You initial explored the difficulty of guns for the exhibition 1 Globe, presented by Gallery Loupe, which asked 40 intercontinental jewelers in the spring of 2020 to produce a pendant in reaction to COVID. You designed a necklace named Hey Men, Shoot That Damn Thing, with a gun built from cardboard on just one aspect and a piece of coral that represented COVID on the other. You also built some gun-formed brooches. After that, why did you continue to be with the theme of guns?

Rian de Jong: I couldn’t come loose from the topic—I was in the grip of those pistols for the One Environment exhibition. It was COVID, and we had been dwelling in France at our home in the Pyrénées, which is in the fashion of Frank Lloyd Wright. And there was this astonishing news about a run on arms sales in the US. And then a photograph from Lansing, MI, from a demonstration versus the lockdown, of individuals carrying weapons on their chests. It was in every single newspaper in Europe. I couldn’t imagine it, just strolling the streets with these kinds of a navy weapon. I was shocked that guns ended up permitted in a group like this. And that it is seemingly usual in the US. In Europe, we can not understand it. Guns are hugely regulated. So that was the start off.

Rian de Jong, Lattice, 2020, brooch, copper, 64 x 18 x 38 mm, photograph: artist

You used 14 several years dwelling on a 50-foot boat with your partner, Herman, browsing dozens of nations around the world and participating with cultures that are incredibly diverse from The Netherlands. Your perspective as an outsider brings a fresh check out to those people of us who live in the US and who may well have just acknowledged the epidemic of gun violence as a little something we simply cannot repair.  

Rian de Jong: Yes, the cultural variances get me imagining. For this challenge, I questioned, what does defending you with a weapon indicate? Are you guarding oneself, or inciting violence and hatred? Is it to prove you have power? Why is it so critical to have a gun in your car, beside your bed?

Rian de Jong, Blackberry, 2020, item, blackberry branches, 730 x 100 x 10 mm, photograph: artist

The most spectacular piece in the exhibition is an item known as Blackberry, a two-foot-long gun manufactured from blackberry branches. How did you generate it?

Rian de Jong: We have quite a few blackberry bushes expanding on our land in France. When I trim them, the thorns prick me. I get scratches. And I assumed: I have to make a gun from them. I dried the branches and sewed the twigs alongside one another working with crochet stitches. I want another person to feel, “If I pick that gun up, I will get pricked.” I want you to visualize the ache of getting the weapon in your arms, the thorns that sting your skin. There are threads hanging from the front of the gun, and from the threads are drops of modeling clay painted red that drip down. The crimson speaks for by itself.

Rian de Jong, At the rear of Bars, 2021, object, black wax, copper, cold enamel, 157 x 119 x 18 mm, photograph: artist

Various of the gun-shaped objects are produced from paraffin wax. Why did you use wax?

Rian de Jong: Wax is about fragility. For the object Driving Bars, I utilized black wax, which is quite delicate, for the gun. The contours of the gun are copper and cold enamel, which I manufactured by electroforming. The gun is imprisoned. It is caged. Wax can make the gun vulnerable. Generally, a gun is very powerful, but this one particular would melt with warmth, so it’s not a gun. It’s an illusion. If it melts, the contour of the gun will stay.

Rian de Jong, Dolled Up, 2022, item, copper, Swarovski crystals, 109 x 18 x 48 mm, image: artist

You’ve adorned some objects with Swarovski crystals. What prompted you to insert these colourful, sparkly stones?

Rian de Jong: I was imagining about historic weapons, all those that sultans and kings have. I also required to provide some humor, to not make it all much too serious. It’s still a gun, it’s continue to harmful, but you can also make pleasurable of it.

The objects are the two jewellery and item for me. You dress in it. You keep it in your hand. You stick it involving your waistline and your skin. It might evoke humor, a smile, a concern, a considered, and maybe also responsibility. Via imagination, you might be able to make folks know that they really do not want to have just about anything to do with the electrical power and murderous characteristics of weapons.

Rian de Jong, Religion, 2021, necklace, paraffin, copper, modeling clay, thread, acrylic, 249 mm in diameter, image: artist

Did you get worried that the exhibition would be way too controversial?

Rian de Jong: Yes, of class. But I had to do it, mainly because it haunted me. This get the job done is intensive, I know that, but art has to make a assertion. For Us residents, it may be a little bit confronting. I hope that Americans are confronted by this. What I would like is for folks to use one particular of my items, or have a person at household, and have it begin a dialogue.

Rian de Jong, Blue, 2021, pendant, copper, paint, 53 x 18 x 43 mm, photo: artist

Inform me about Blue, a pendant necklace with a tiny upside-down gun built of wrapped copper wire that’s painted blue.

Rian de Jong: Close friends who came to the studio were being hunting at this necklace, and at first they did not know what they were being viewing, and then at just one instant they saw that it was a gun. And I like that. You really don’t see it at initially glance, but on a 2nd search.

The pendant hangs from a narrow brown rope.

Rian de Jong: The way a piece connects to the system, I like that to be as humble as doable, so I made use of rope. It exhibits that you can make putting items with humble products.

Rian de Jong, Red, 2020, object, red wax, 157 x 33 x 89 mm, picture: artist

Pink—a gun manufactured from red wax sticks—sits in a gentle-blue cardboard box, and on leading of the box you place a map with purple dots marking all the web sites of mass shootings in the United States. What do you hope it gets individuals thinking about?

Rian de Jong: People today really do not understand how many shootings there have been. When you see it on the map, you realize the selection is enormous. The gun is a bit playful. It appears to be like like licorice. You want to chunk it.

Rian de Jong, Ring Gun, 2022, ring, paraffin, copper, chilly enamel, 69 x 13 x 89 mm, image: artist

Ring Gun is a a few-inch paraffin gun protected in a vine-like pattern of silver cold enamel. It’s attached to a ring, which matches above the finger, although the gun is tucked in the hand.

Rian de Jong: I like that you can hold it, you can feel it, you can present it. It is a little bit naughty.

Rian de Jong, Tender, 2021, item, plastic foam, 135 x 8 x 94 mm, picture: artist

Your existence of journey has generally influenced your function. This collection was produced for the duration of the pandemic, when journey was restricted. How did being place in France impact this function?

Rian de Jong: We applied to be on land 50 percent the calendar year and on our boat the other 50 percent. That stopped with COVID. But you even now have the memory of touring, that’s always with you. From time to time I don’t feel the inspiration for perform at the instant we are touring, but it will come later on, usually significantly afterwards. It just will come.

Rian de Jong, Bloody Guns, 2021, brooch, modeling clay, pigment, 119 x 33 x 84 mm, photograph courtesy of the artist

What conjures up you to retain creating jewellery?

Rian de Jong: I really like that you put on it on your system, that it exhibits who you are. It’s aspect of your being. It’s what you appreciate. It’s who you are.

To discover much more about the parts in this display, check out out the exhibition page, here.



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