Alonzo Edwards, of Urban Star Organics, gives us some insight on what’s involved in creating new body jewelry and his inspiration for art. If you’ve been living under a rock, Urban Star Organics creates gorgeous organic jewelry out of products such as wood, stone, and other natural materials. Check out his interview below!
Explain what you do in 100 words.
I work very closely with the owner of Urban Star to take any design concept we come up with and turn it into reality. Whether its jewelry, advertising/print materials, or decorating the showroom, I do all I can to make sure it looks as close to what’s in our heads as possible. I am responsible for our social networking, retail website content, retail management, and project completion. This all can sound pretty serious, but its actually quite fun. I am the only designer at Urban Star Organics, and I feel quite valued for what I bring to the company.
What is the best thing about working for Urban Star?
Playing video games on our huge projector during our breaks, hands down. Don’t challenge me in Blur!!
What’s your creative process? Can you give us a brief walk-through of how jewelry goes from a concept to a tangible product?
Every design has its own process but usually follow some variation of this: Come up with a concept. Do field research on the concept to see what has and hasn’t been done with it. Work on concept sketches. Pick the best sketch options. Show the specs to our lead sculptor. Go back and forth with our lead sculptor with prototypes until it looks great. Then on to production.
What’s your opinion on body modification? Is it an art form? Is it self-expression?
To me, body modification is like changing your wardrobe, or cutting your hair. It’s just another form of self-expression, which is an art form in my opinion. Art, to me, is having a vision, and having the commitment and discipline to create it. If someone wants to mod their body, I respect the dedication to that vision.
Do you have any mods?
Yes one gauge. 7/16” in my left ear and I love it. I envisioned myself with one gauge, and I liked it, so I did it. That’s it. No big deal.
What is your favorite Urban Star piece?
The Swirl or The Chrome Disc is my personal favorite. Simplicity.
Three words you would use to describe yourself.
Creative, Observant, Real
You are stuck on a deserted island, what three things do you wish you had?
Unlimited Duct Tape, A cooking pot with a top, and my girlfriend
What was your first job?
The best egg cook at McDonalds. I quit when they told me I had to cut my very first peach-fuzz beard.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A wise warrior-monk-artist
Name three things you couldn’t live without.
Freedom of self expression, ability to love and be loved, Google.
What are your hobbies?
Making music, Creating things with my girlfriend, Watching throwback cartoons (Tex Avery as of recent)
What’s your favorite food? Why?
Middle Eastern Food. The ingredients and spices please my soul.
What’s the strongest memory of your childhood?
Getting slimed at Nickelodeon Studios.
You’ve worked on the sets of large movie productions. How did you get into that? What was the coolest thing about it?
A lot of movies were produced in Michigan 2009-2012 because of a tax incentive. I got into working on large movie sets through the Chair of my department (Illustration) at the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI). He went to school with the lead sculptor on one of the bigger productions who happened to need sculptors for the job. So based on my work ethic and interests, my department chair recommended me for the job, and I got it. The coolest thing about it was it paid! LOL. I would work super hard for a few months, then have the rest of the year off to create and do whatever else I wanted until the next movie!
How did you get into designing organic plugs/body jewelry?
I wanted to learn the production process of creating a product that functions more closely with people. I chose Jewelry. I responded to a post on Craigslist titled “I need a superstar artist!” and described exactly what I was looking for. I applied, popped in the showroom, and vibed with the owner. All of the skills I had gathered up to that point applied perfectly, so it just made sense.
What other artists do you admire?
So Many. Richard Schmid, Caravaggio, Mario Moore, Andre 3000, Kanye West to name a few. I typically like artists who go against the grain and push creativity past its “limits”.
Where do you find your inspiration?
From everywhere. I’ve found anything can be inspiring if you pay attention.
How do you see your art evolving?
I see my art as getting even simpler than it is now. I love minimalism. I’ve experienced that life can be simple, and when it is, that’s when it’s the most beautiful for me. I plan to make my own foundry soon and make small pieces. I also plan on discovering a way to mix all of my artistic talents together somehow; drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic design, singing, song-writing, producing, all in one.
What is your favorite thing about sculpting and designing?
Sculpting makes the most sense to me. It encompasses a lot of visual elements in one. Light, color, form, movement, texture…etc. It’s the closest thing to creating the “real” thing to me. With design, I enjoy simplifying complex concepts into their rawest form. It’s pretty satisfying when I can successfully do so.
What’s your favorite medium to work with?
All mediums have their pros and cons. For visual art, my favorite would be sculpture right now, but if I had to choose any medium, I would choose music. I have a strong passion and desire to create images with sound. I like to sing, write and produce songs.
What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to find inspiration?
I don’t know if I’ve ever traveled with the intention of finding inspiration, but I did study in Florence, Italy for a few months in college. That was a pretty inspirational experience to say the least.