Featuring the work of 6 emerging artists, Onishi Gallery’s first jewelry exhibition focuses on how nature inspires our everyday lives. Each artist creates exquisite pieces that combine precious metals and natural elements such as fish scales, the thorns of a rose, or a bird’s beak. The end results of their practices are wearable art pieces that allow us to incorporate nature into our hectic city lives.
Heidi GARDNER’s creative desire and untamed imagination began during her early years spent in Buffalo, NY, where she grew up a classically trained ballerina. While attending boarding school, she realized an intense personal need for self-expression, as well as a penchant for the lurid and macabre. She describes her jewelry as “a purgatory in which creatures, forms, and art become one,” and draws inspiration from the work of Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, Otto Dix, Francis Bacon and Alfred Kubin, as well as vintage thriller films. Incorporating elements from the objects of her adoration, Gardner’s designs are dangerous, fantastical and delicately detailed. Each piece gives the wearer a voice to express a secret part of themselves and to do so in a unique fashion; no two Heidi Gardner pieces are ever the same.
Liliam HIGA is a Brazilian-born Japanese jewelry designer based in Los Angeles. Raised in São Paulo, Brazil, she was surrounded by the precious gems and pearls that her father sold in his wholesale store. After attending Faculdade Santa Marcelina (Brazil) and the Shuri University of Arts (Japan), she worked as a stylist in New York. Realizing her passion for jewelry, she returned to São Paulo to learn more about the industry by joining her father’s business. Three years later, in 2013, she returned to New York City to launch her first jewelry line, Tropicalis, as homage to the celebrated architect Oscar Niemeyer and lush Brazilian landscapes.
Although he was born in California, Joji KOJIMA moved to Japan in his early childhood, and grew up in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture. At the age of 15, Kojima began teaching himself to make jewelry, and also experimented with other media. While attending Tama Art University in Tokyo, he majored in advertising, photography, and typography, and used his skills to make pieces for films and musicians, including Lady Gaga. Currently living and working in New York, Joji Kojima is engaged in art direction in addition to his jewelry production.
Born in the Enuma district of Yamanaka in Ishikawa prefecture, MATSUYAMA Takeshi creates one-of-a-kind lacquerware with a distinctively modern taste. Yamanaka, now part of Kaga, is known for its lacquerware made using authentic maki-e techniques, which have been handed down for over 450 years and are a nationally designated kōgei (craft) art. Incredibly particular about using only lacquer produced in Japan, Matsuyama creates each work individually by hand over a period of several weeks. He is known to use amber as the base for his maki-e designs, making each piece uniquely tied to the Earth’s history. Matsuyama Takeshi lives in Kaga, Japan.
Edgar MOSA combines traditional jewelry and natural materials with eye-catching results. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Mosa graduated from the Cranbook Academy of Art and his work has been exhibited all over the world. The materials used in each of his pieces are important geographical markers, frequently bending and shifting, placing each unique piece within a global context. He views each element of his designs as a relationship formed: the completion of a work requires interest, a dosage of character, and concerted labor, much like the relationships formed between people.
Inspired by the simple beauty found in the shapes and forms of the natural world, Ayaka NISHI grew up in Kagoshima, Japan. Her work is rooted in the rich flora and fauna with which she interacted in her youth, and incorporates elements of sophisticated city life, bucolic countryside landscapes, and the pristine wilderness. While Nishi’s one-of-a-kind style is very much a product of the environments she has inhabited, she has also received extensive formal training in jewelry design and manufacture. Currently based in New York City, her work has been exhibited at galleries both in America and Japan.