YardEdge Talks to Jamaican Jeweler Alicia Evelyn About Making Beautiful Things
YardEdge: Why are you an artist?
Alicia: Art, to me, personifies who I am. I love colours. I love beautiful things. I love anything that is unique and not quite ordinary. I have always been involved in art. It is a passion, a dream, a reality, a talent. It is everything to me. I cannot see myself doing anything that is not artistic or creative.
YardEdge: When did you first realize that you wanted to become one?
Alicia: From I was very little and I would always draw my favourite cartoon characters or doodle and sketch in my notebooks in class. I was always interested in learning more about art and design and that is what led me to enroll in art school.
YardEdge: How would you describe your work?
Alicia: Simply put: neat, colourful and usually intricate and detailed.
YardEdge: How did you develop your skill (s)?
Alicia: I use many things to develop my artistic skills. One of them is being around other artists and learning from them. Artists my age as well as older, more experienced artists can have a lot of positive influence and can push you to work harder or think more outside the box. Other things that I would say that have helped are observation, research and of course, practice!
YardEdge: What do you enjoy and not enjoy about being a “jeweler”?
Alicia: Jewelry is sort of a labour of love. It is extremely time-consuming and patience is an absolute must. If you do not ‘enjoy’ it, you cannot DO it. Overall, I love to create, so anything that entails a concept and following through to a completed piece, I will put my all into and enjoy seeing the finished product. I cannot single out anything that I do not enjoy about jewelry because every craft has ups and downs, failures and breakthroughs. I am also somewhat of a perfectionist though, so that can sometimes get the best of me.
YardEdge: Do you do any other type of art?
Alicia: Yes, I can do most types of art but I have some skills that I am better at than others. I went to school for textile and fashion design because that is my orginal love. Apart from fashion and jewelry, I also do painting, illustration, photography and a little freelance interior design.
YardEdge: What other artists have influenced you and how?
Alicia: I am influenced by artists of every discipline and genre. I think each respective artist has a certain unique attribute that can help to influence another artist in different ways. I am influenced by musicians, fashion designers, photographers, chefs, sculptors, architects, tattoo artists, graphic designers… I cannot select just one. I find most aspects of art intriguing and therefore appreciate each artist for what they do and admire their individual style.
YardEdge: What inspires you?
Alicia: Basically, everything around me can potentially inspire me. I wish I could travel the world to get a first-hand look at other cultures to see their techniques, learn new things and be in new scenarios or environments. That would truly be inspiring!
YardEdge: How has “business” been?
Alicia: The ‘business’ of being an artist is always tough. Not only within our Jamaican society, but on a whole. Artists usually wear every hat when it comes to business- the sponser, the sourcer, the manufacturer and the marketer. Business, for me, has been good so far but I would like it to get better in the next couple of years and hopefully that can happen through expanding my range of products and also working hard and balancing my time better.
YardEdge: How do you market yourself and your work?
Alicia: Right now, I mostly market myself through my blog, social networking sites and by participating in shows and fairs.
YardEdge: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?
Alicia: Being an entrepreneur comes with vast responsibility and can be overwhelming at times. I try to take it one day at a time. Also, knowing my limits, knowing when to step aside and ask for or accept help and not thinking that I can do it all by myself. Splitting up tasks can be essential for the success of any business. Trying to conquer everything can make you lose your creative spark because you get caught up in running your business correctly, making profit and avoiding losses.
YardEdge: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Alicia: Being happy and settled in my career.
YardEdge: How would people who know you describe you?
Alicia: Caring, easy to talk to, down to earth and funny.
YardEdge: If you could be doing anything you wanted, what would that be?
Alicia: Making enough money to support myself doing what I love. As I said before travelling the world is one of the things I really want to do. Also learning new skills, meeting new people and enjoying life.
YardEdge: Any regrets?
Alicia: Nothing major at the moment.
YardEdge: Final thoughts?
Alicia: Surround yourself with positivity and try to have a positive outlook on things, no matter how impossible it may seem or discouraged you feel. Also do whatever you do because you truly love it, because if you don’t you are cheating yourself.
Alemgems jewelry can be purchased at KERRY man woman home, 14 South Ave.