Portrait photo by: Rudolf Bekker
Andy Lifschutz is a New York and Rome based jewelry designer with a laid back style and a passion for creative design that is showcased in his artful, unique pieces. His work has been featured in numerous fashion magazines like New York Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar (check out his work here) and now he has a shop-meets-artisan-bottega here in the heart of Rome.
Young in Rome had the pleasure of chatting with Andy last week and getting to know what goes into creating his evocative jewelry. (Hint: it’s one part story-telling, one part natural, almost organically formed materials, and large helping of imagination.)
YiR: Currently you split your time between Brooklyn, New York and Rome, Italy. How does each city strike you as an artist?
AL: New York is full of so many successful artists that it can get very competitive and the work is fast-paced. In Rome, everything is slower and more relaxed so I can dig deeper into my own inspiration and process. There’s a unique pulse and energy to each place and I’m lucky to have the chance to jump back and forth between them.
YiR What materials do you work with?
AL: I like mixing metals and textures so I work with a lot of sterling silver, bronze and gold, but also garnet, sapphire and ruby. I like to make molds of leather and I’m also working with a lot of crystal and titanium that I get from a buddy of mine in Arkansas. Right now I’m really interested in Alexandrite and gold. They’re all reclaimed materials. I think if you have the opportunity to be eco-friendly, you have a responsibility to do that.
YiR: Tell us about your “Found” collection.
AL: I like to look for meaningful items and then take inspiration from that. For example, my father collected keys so I took a few of these keys and started playing around with them and creating new shapes. However, I don’t need people to see the same things in each piece that I see. In fact, I like it when people have their own interpretation of my work. It might start as something for me but it can become whatever is most meaningful to the person wearing it. I like that openness.
YiR: How has your work changed over the years?
AL: I started out in Brooklyn with Kristin Hanson and that’s when I discovered my passion for design and that this was something I really wanted to do. I worked in Portland, Oregon with Gunnar Adamoviks and at the Sterling Quest School of Jewelry Design and Creation in Mexico so its been quite the journey.
At first my pieces were more experimental, I was interested in trying out as many different things as I could. Now I’d say the pieces are more cohesive, they could be called a collection. Seasonal collections aren’t really my thing, I don’t like to force it. When things start coming together and coalescing is when I decide to have a collection but not on some schedule pre-ordained by the fashion community, that’s not me at all.
YiR: What do you mean when you say that you want to be “public” with art?
AL: I like the idea of combining jewelry in a fashion show or a play as a way of incorporating it with what other people are creating. Even having a party where people can play dress up and have the opportunity to express a character of themselves–that appeals to me.
That’s kind of the whole idea of having this artisan bottega here on a side street in Rome. People can wander in, get acquainted with the pieces and also meet me. I have an “inspiration table” (below) to not only fuel my work (Andy does his work on site in the store) but to give people an idea of what my pieces are all about.
And speaking of meeting the artist: don’t miss tomorrow night’s aperitivo event at the store. You’ll have the chance to meet Andy, check out his new work, and welcome in Spring at last. Details are below and we’ve been told that a popular Italian band will make an appearance at 8:00 but their identity is top secret so ssshhh!
When? 6:30pm to 10pm
Where? at the store: Via dell’Arco di Parma, 3
Via dell’Arco di Parma, 3
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm