My approach to jewelry design is as an anthropologist, treasure hunter, philosopher, and social commentator as well as artist. The techniques that I employ in the studio change from day to day, and my style is marked by the resulting eclecticism.
I use a combination of metalsmithing tools and approaches, cold connections, and wirewrapping in the construction of my pieces. Sometimes I carve wax and cast different components, and sometimes I deconstruct watches and video cameras, sourcing and modifying those objects for my jewelry. I use mixed metals, gemstones, resin, found objects, and graphic images in my work. I love going to vintage stores and antique markets and searching cases and bins until I find a great component that deserves a second chance. My most recent collection has incorporated cultural artifacts—reidentifying and reformulating them to imbue those pieces with new meaning and cultural significance. The idea of reinvention and metamorphosis has figured heavily in my work since Katrina impacted our lives in such a profound way.
The many different interests in my life all dovetail when I'm at my jeweler's bench. Components that represent a place and time have so much more symbolic meaning, and engage the audience in a way that a simply "pretty" piece cannot—not that it isn't proper for a beautiful object's raison d'etre be to simply celebrate beauty. Of late, I have just been enjoying the opportunity to see my audience take, double take, and then stop to inspect more closely what's at play. It's great to work in a medium that challenges conventions, and in the process, serves to raise fundamental questions about style and beauty.
My name is Forrest Bacigalupi, and I'm the designer of this line of unique and beautiful jewelry. I make my home here in New Orleans amidst the tropical heat and Caribbean color of an antiquated, soulful, and decadent town. I decided to launch Arts Kinetic, inspired by the frenetic energy, the undeniably erratic pulse of this wholly unique city after graduating from Tulane University. After focusing most of my attention to the study of French Literature and Philosophy, I was hungry for a new means of self expression.
There is an all-pervasive bohemian quality in New Orleans that is reflected in the prolific musical traditions, the world-renowned cuisine, the wonderful architecture—crumbling and opulent in the same breath, and in my collection of jewelry that I offer through Arts Kinetic.
My artwork reflects the fantasia of day to day life. It speaks of a town steeped in the overbearing heat of racial tensions borne of poverty and wealth, manifested in their greatest extremes. My jewelry is at once elegant, decadent, whimsical, and takes cues and draws inspiration from all the facets of the quotidian routine.
It speaks to the all-consuming color and passion that defines "CARNIVAL," the festival whose name literally translates to "swallowing flesh." It's a celebration of adornment, beauty, and what is ultimately important at "this moment" in time. It speaks to the sultry and sensual electricity created by people, swept up in the visceral immediacy of a mass celebration which right before our eyes reaches critical mass, hence the "Kinetic" inspiration for my approach to art. It speaks to the radiation of peoples around the world who bring millions of different perspectives and realities to bear, rendering "objective truth" a silly notion. It speaks to the crossroads of cultures, the crossroads of ideas, the crossing paths and human directions that might be infinitesimally trivial or infinitely important. No medium, no approach, no influences of design are off limits when I'm at my work bench.
I view art as a vehicle of transformation and transportation. It inspires communication, interaction, the sharing of ideas. Bright colors, exotic themes, the familiar feel of metal, mineral, and textile against one's skin all change one's mood profoundly. Art is the loss and rebirth of innocence, a means to metamorphosis.
And as a pure and eloquent reflection of the human experience, the process of creating art is the gris-gris of clairvoyance, meditation, and transcendence, a portrayal of wisdom and insight—nothing short of magical in its ability to communicate its message to anyone, anywhere, at any time.