Rashid Johnson x Lizworks

Born in Chicago in 1977, Rashid Johnson is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists  whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural  identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. After studying in the  photography department of the Art Institute of Chicago, Johnson’s practice quickly expanded to embrace a  wide range of media – including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation – yielding a  complex multidisciplinary practice that incorporates diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal  history.

Johnson’s work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects,  often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American  intellectual history and cultural identity. To date, Johnson has incorporated elements / materials / items as  diverse as CB radios, shea butter, literature, record covers, gilded rocks, black soap and tropical plants.  Many of Johnson’s works convey rhythms of the occult and mystic: evoking his desire to transform and  expand each included object’s field of association in the process of reception.

Rashid Johnson on his Anxious Men jewellery:

“This work is about anxiety and the negotiation with fear, it’s an interrogation of those things and an  awareness of their impact. I started making this body of work with cathartic intentions, to push back against  the feelings that were at times really handicapping me, to illustrate those feelings and to give myself an action  step to consider and unpack why I was feeling that way. My anxiety travels with me. Translating this work  into a wearable gives it its own mobility—an antidote to those feelings wherever I am.

There is a long history of artists using jewelry and wearables to explore and spread our ideas. And there is a  rich history in the black community and in my family of folks wearing one’s wealth. I don’t think of jewelry as  feminine at all. I grew up with Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes wearing jewelry. I also grew up a child of hip  hop. Rakim of Eric B and Rakim, Biggie—a lot of my heroes wore jewelry. There is a great interview on David  Letterman with Mr. T where Letterman jokingly asks him why he wears so much jewelry. Mr. T replies that his  ancestors were brought here with chains around their necks and their wrists and he wears them now but he  has turned them into gold which makes people uncomfortable. He tells Letterman that people are constantly  asking him if the chains get heavy and yet no one asked his ancestors that question”.

Biography Lizworks

Founded in 2014 by Liz Swig, Lizworks collaborates with celebrated contemporary artists to create limited-edition pieces that reflect the moment and push the boundary between jewelry and art.

You Might Also Like
Select your currency
Select Your Shipping Country