Sebastian Grant

Sebastian Grant, Curator, Art Historian, Professor and Author

February is Black Historical past Month in the USA. To honor this, AJF shines a highlight on our earlier articles and movies about Black producers and/or Black writers all month lengthy.

Sebastian Grant, picture courtesy of Sebastian Grant

As we speak we’ll deal with Sebastian Grant’s scholarship. Grant is a curator, artwork historian, and professor on the Parsons College of Design. In 2022, he printed the primary article of a collection known as. Black Jewelers: An Rising Historical past. The collection started with an introductory article outlining Grant’s targets:

I used to be focused on searching for new methods wherein we within the jewelery world may broaden our data of the figures that formed our world up to now and at the moment. On this collection, we’ll discover the assorted tales of various Black jewellers. Some had been full-time jewellery designers, others had been multi-disciplinary artists, and but others got here from the artwork and trend worlds. They contributed to daring new kinds, experiments with supplies, and new views from the African-American expertise.

Learn the collection introduction right here

Grant named lots of the artists whose work he plans to overview. Amongst them: Winifred Mason, C. Edgar Persistence, Patrick Kelly, Betye Saar and Vaughn Stubbs. He began by writing an article about Curtis Tann (1915–1991).

This artist serves for example of an enormous title and distinguished determine within the jewelery world whose efforts have but to obtain the popularity they deserve. Whereas Tann’s title might not stand out on the planet of artwork and design, his contributions and connections with a few of modern artwork’s most necessary figures present the quantity of affect he has introduced together with his inventive skills. From his whimsical enamel work on copper to his early experiments with tie-dye and batik, Tann’s profession within the mid-Twentieth century produced stellar design and inventive triumphs, significantly within the jewelry.

Later in his profession, Tann turned the primary full-time director of the Watts Towers Arts Heart. It was the primary group to convey arts schooling to the youngsters of the South Central Los Angeles group.

Curtis Tann, Two-Bird Pendant
Curtis Tann, Two Chicken Pendant, date unknown (almost definitely late 60’s-early 70’s), enamel on copper, courtesy of The Jewellery Library

Learn Sebastian Grant’s article, Curtis Tann: Virtually Misplaced in Time, Right here

Grant’s subsequent article within the collection targeted on Invoice Smith (1933–1989).

For the revolutionary fashionistas of the ’60s and ’70s, Invoice Smith was there to decorate them in jewelry. He was a sensational designer, prized for jewelery kinds that captured the liberty and enthusiasm of the period. The covers of trend magazines confirmed lengthy strings of pearls across the necks and huge bow collars of fashions, each well-known and unknown. But for a designer who has received the good love and admiration of the style world, his story has abruptly disappeared and his legacy has develop into a forgotten web page within the nice textbook of historical past. How did it achieve a lot reputation and the way did it disappear so rapidly?

Smith designed a trousers consisting of strings of Turkish cash. An identical bralette and pants are manufactured from pearl solely. He designed many different unorthodox issues. “You should utilize no matter you need,” Smith mentioned in an interview in 1969. Kokomo Tribune“however do not present it as it’s, give it one other dimension.”

To learn Invoice Smith: Prince of False Pearls Right here

Bill Smith, Body Ornament
Modeled by Invoice Smith, Physique Decoration, Merème, picture courtesy of Aida Sulova, Aida Sulova and The Jewellery Library

Just a few months after his article on Smith was printed, Grant continued to interview JoAnne Spiller. He hosted the Invoice Smith: Madison’s Visionary Jewellery Designer exhibition, which was proven in Smith’s hometown of Madison, IN from October 18 to December 9, 2022. It is nice that this artist is getting consideration as soon as once more!

To learn Hometown of Invoice Smith’s Jewellery Exhibition: In an Interview with JoAnne Spiller Right here

Two works by Bill Smith
(Left) Design by Invoice Smith, picture courtesy of Jefferson County, (proper) Invoice Smith, Elephant Pendant, picture courtesy of Jefferson County. The pendant has a protracted chain that retains the jewelery at waist stage.

Grant additionally wrote an obituary for Terry Castro, founder and designer of Castro NYC.

Artwork jewellery rock and roll designer Castro Terry Castro of NYC died unexpectedly on July 18, 2022, of a coronary heart assault. He died in Istanbul, the place he resided. Because of his originality in mixing antiques with African design, Castro has at all times pushed his work to stay as much as his creative beliefs. It usually gave up its industrial significance to remain true to its imaginative and prescient of displaying Black excellence in jewellery design.

To learn Terry Castro of Castro NYC: 1972–2022 Right here

Terry Castro and one of his necklaces
(Left) Terry Castro, (proper) artist Castro usually used each angels and skulls as motifs in his designs for NYC. Castro NYC’s son, Sir King Castro, mentioned the chicken and cat skulls are a reference to medieval plague docs.

Grant additionally wrote metalworking and taught on the Boston Museum of Positive Arts. We look ahead to the following article within the Black Jewelers: An Rising Historical past collection. In it, he’ll flip his consideration to Coreen Simpson. She began designing jewellery in 1982. His signature The Black Cameo was launched in 1990. Designed across the assortment, the gathering continues to be listed on Simpson’s web site.

Coreen Simpson wearing pieces from the Black Cameo Collection
Coreen Simpson sporting items from the Black Cameo Assortment, courtesy of Coreen Simpson

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