ARTIST INTERVIEW: Sophie Monet Jewelry
Sophie Monet is a line of jewelry designed and handcrafted in Venice, CA. The line began on a summer afternoon in 2009, when designer Sophie transformed a single piece of wood into a ring with the help of her dad’s drill press.
Sophie is dedicated to taking a hands-on approach to redefine modern luxury using exotic wood, precious stones, and metals to create timeless pieces of jewelry. Produced locally using sustainable materials whenever possible, Sophie has created a line that blends bold and colorful elements with refined and classic shapes.
We spoke to Sophie about her creative journey.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I started my business about 7 years ago after graduating college from The New School and trying my hand at a few different jobs in fashion. It’s been a gradual process and a lot of trial and error discovering myself and evolving the line. As a small company I’ve learned it’s really important to take your time and not take yourself too seriously. The reason I make jewelry is because it doesn’t feel like work. The minute you start comparing yourself to others you lose track of what’s important. Being original and being true to yourself, your aesthetic and enjoying the process. I’ve learned this over time and it’s helped me grow as an artist and a business.
What is the first memory you have of encountering art or the artistic process?
I practically grew up in a woodshop, around my dad making huge, colorful geometric sculptures so It’s always been in my blood. I’ve always had an appreciation of the natural materials I use and their aesthetic qualities. I remember sitting on a stool in the woodshop, glueing little pieces of scrap wood together and giving it to my parents with a note scribbled on it asking for a puppy.
What are your most important artistic tools?
Sandpaper, sanding a piece of wood till you get it to the luster and finish you want is an art form in itself. It’s also very time consuming that your mind can go into this meditative state and can get lost in your thoughts as I think you can with many art forms and practices.
Where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
I love going to museums and galleries, it opens me up to ask questions about new materials, techniques and shapes I haven’t seen before. It’s always fun to visit LACMA to see a range of new and old. LA Louver has a beautiful space in Venice showing local, contemporary artists as well.
Are you inspired by the environment around you? How does the home/city/nature you live in affect your work?
Living in California definitely has a great influence on my designs. I think Venice beach has an effortless style and embodies that classic Southern California feel, the line is a reflection of that: very relaxed, modern yet earthy and fun. While my designs and the neighborhood I live in evolve to become more contemporary they still fit in with the eclectic surroundings, palm trees and sun kissed faces.
Did you have any artists in your family, mentors, or other important creative influences?
I work very closely with my dad and sculptor John Okulick. He has the ability to create anything he puts his mind to, a perfectionist and the most innovative thinker I know. I’m so inspired by his work and way of thinking. We are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another. He inspires me to keep going, creating, exploring, and developing as an artist.