September - Jim Charles

Jim Charles

Shadow series is composed of laser cut acrylic, sandblasted and coated with enamel paint. Jewelry pieces are constructed using various rubber, plastics or other common materials that create bright and dynamic compositions.

Shadow series emerged through the documentation process of my silver work. I began taking close-up detailed pictures of the delicate lines and loops, activated by the body or simply placed on the table. I became concerned with the visual experience of the work; the finality of photographing objects. What about the space the work occupies, the moments unseen in the photograph? This idea resulted in a continuation and fragmented recreation of my previous work. I used digital technology to extract new shapes, shadows, or remnants of the pieces and laser cut them out of acrylic to form new jewelry. They became objects about the object. They are earrings that are silhouetted images of other earrings, necklaces that are fragmented images of other necklaces. 

Jim Charles was nice enough to answer a few questions to get to know him and his work better...

Born/Raised: Born in Philadelphia, PA/Raised in State College, PA

Current Location: Milwaukee, WI

Education Major: Bachelors in Art (Metalsmithing)  Graduate degree in Special Education

How did you come to jewelry: A classmate came into my painting class and said, ‘Look what I made!’ I asked her how she did it and she said she’d made it in Basic Metals. I had never heard of that and took the class the next semester. Myra Mimlitsch-Gray happened to be teaching intro that semester and I was hooked.

Where do you gather inspiration: Everywhere, especially in and around my house. I try to connect the aesthetics of my childhood with what I see and understand today.

What do you do for fun: Work on my house, my garden, I like making specialty sauces like hot sauce.

Jobs before you got into jewelry: Special Education Teacher, Bellhop, Valet, I once worked in a meat packing facility for one day. One day was enough.

Do you do other types of art, besides jewelry: Yes. I’ve been making wall pieces that are based on my jewelry. I fragment images of my jewelry and have them laser cut from acrylic and then place them onto panels of Baltic Birch. I sometimes paint over them so that they become part of the panel and sometimes I paint around the edges and pull off the acrylic fragments so that there is a remnant of what was once there. Before placing the fragments I build up multiple layers of paint, 40 layers or more, on the panels and trim the edges so that the layers are visible from the side. The panels are then framed in a way that resembles a prong setting.

 Favorite trip you have taken: Mexico. We often go where there is very limited or no electricity. You wake up with the sun and feel exhausted when the sun goes down. All day we sit on the beach and do just about nothing.

 Do you have any ideas or concepts for your next body of work: Yes. I’m taking some video dealing with light and shadows in my house. I’ll be projecting the video onto some new wall pieces I’ve recently made. This is related to my current body of work where I take images of old work and include the shadows to create new forms that I have laser cut to make new jewelry.