Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5 Minutes With Justin Giunta

Designer Justin Giunta, has worked in different mediums for the past five years, ranging from painting, fashion, industrial design, and now jewelry, to create work that sits on the continuum of fine art and commercial design.

Justin plays with the idea of the baroque philosophy that more is more, and the modern idea of deconstruction in fashion. SUBVERSIVE JEWELRY, a collection that has forged a unique niche in the international jewelry market, and is the culmination of Justin’s artistic and entrepreneurial efforts within the industry of design. Justin sites his influences as culled from an art historical perspective, mining the rich traditions from Europe, Asia, and Tribal aesthetics, as well as the design triumphs of 20th century modernists.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he has studied at several art institutions including Pratt Institute and the Gerrit Reitveld Academie in Amsterdam. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and a fellowship from Yale University. In 2009, Justin won the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design at the CFDA Awards.

Q1. What was the first record you bought and how did it change your life?

'Like a Virgin', Madonna. I was 5 and totally fascinated by her and her mix of the punk rock with a wedding dress. The impact of the her visually taught me that mixing desperate aesthetic themes was more interesting that looking at one theme done really well.

Q2. When did you start designing jewelry and what inspired you to create the Subversive brand?

I started in 2003 while living in New York. I was piecing together everything from clothing to chandeliers at the time. Jewelry started as a gift and turned into a calling. An unexpected calling that I listened to.

Q3. A few seasons ago Subversive worked with Target to produce a limited edition collection for the retailer. Do you have any other collaboration projects planned that you can talk about?

I will be making some pieces for designer Timo Weiland this season. He is a long time supporter of my work and his designs are maturing every season so I want to support his work as well.

Q4. You started working with the Tory Burch brand recently. How is that going and how different is designing for that brand as opposed to Subversive?

It is very different, but I love the design challenge. It is more linear than Subversive so I love exercising my creative agility

Q5. How has the e-commerce and online world effected what you do?

I sell more to people who do not really see the pieces first. It is interesting, we almost never get returns so my strategy of standing for what you make has resonated in people buying and loving the unique pieces we offer online. It is e-commerce but not impersonal.

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