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Meet Lisa Berman of Sculpture To Wear

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa M. Berman.

Lisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today?
Sculpture to Wear is my second business and first love (with the exception of my daughter Chiara – but she wasn’t born when I opened the gallery). The gallery represents International Contemporary jewelry artists, fashion / textile designers and wearable art creators. The Gallery has a unique and rich history. The legacy began in 1973 when they opened in the Plaza Hotel in NYC.  The gallery showcased jewelry made by iconic fine artists of that period – Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, etc. Robert Lee Morris was discovered at a studio sale and launched his amazing collection and indelible career there – the rest is history!  In the 1980’s the gallery moved to the West Coast to Beverly Hills and then to Melrose Ave. In 1998, I acquired the name. My first show was called “Structural Integrity” and opened on Jan. 16th, 1999 in Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being located in the celebrated Bergamot Station was great for my clients who understood fine art, architecture and good design because they immediately understood the concept of Sculpture To Wear. For other types of customers, it was a challenge to even locate the art enclave of Bergamot Station and I spent the first two years explaining how the pieces were still considered jewelry, “even though they didn’t have diamonds and weren’t made from gold”…Our best clients never asked “when or how do you where this?”. They were interested in personal style and not fleeting fashion.

Because we worked with International artists, sometimes language was challenging – understanding the titles of their work or proper pronunciation (with an accent) was always part of the fun of receiving new work for an exhibition.

Physical space initially was an issue – my first office was literally in a broom closet. As the business grew, I was able to move to a larger space in Bergamot Station (C2) – adjacent to Robert Berman Gallery.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
From its inception, the gallery has represented some of the most iconic studio and influential jewelers of our century (and the former) within the context of museum quality exhibitions. The artist tests the boundaries of their own imagination (and the wearer), some working in unexpected mediums such as: neoprene, rubber, rocks, glass, coffee cans, etc.  Our International artists have been using alternative materials to create wearable art for decades, some even half a century. Sculpture To Wear was at the forefront of this movement and helped to champion it within the United States. It’s been rewarding to assist in launching the careers of talented artists and guiding them to in the process to improve their craft. I utilized my experience in my own prior jewelry business Statements Accessories and my degree in Plastics technology to traverse the conversation between creating one of a kind, limited edition and multiples.

The artwork from the gallery has been seen on a multitude of red-carpets including the Academy Awards, Grammys, and Emmys (Governors Ball). The gallery and the work of the talented artists were featured in and on the covers of Vogue, W, Elle, Bazaar, W, In-style and many TV shows and movies. One the most rewarding moments for me was when one of artists, Jan Mandel was inducted into the permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. It was a tremendous honor to be there as her representative to share in the reception in the Grand Hall and to see where her jewelry would be displayed alongside Alexander Calder, Diamonds of Royalty, etc. Another one of our artists, Ondre Rudavsky earned an Emmy award, a Grammy award and participated in the Venice Biennial in Italy  representing his country the Czech Republic.

My gallery was selected to create one of a kind jewelry pieces for the Women In Film, Lucy Award winners such as Salma Hayek, Annette Benning, Sherry Lansing, Candace Bergen, Cameron Diaz, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Better Midler. First, I had to select the artist to pair up with the style of the actress and then collaborate with the artists to create the final artpiece.

I’m currently working with a client, a well known West Coast art collector, to curate her wearable art & jewelry collection to be gifted to LACMA and other grateful institutions. It’s sincerely gratifying to be in integral part of the creative process and evolution with the artists as well as guiding collectors as to the best way to represent their personal style. I’m honored to know that my words, decisions and choices influence theirs and that these collective consequences (wearable artwork) are seen for decades it come.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is the best place for my business. All the designers / stylists are here – ready to work in print, film, tv, editorial and the fashion shows at a moment’s notice, after all, it’s still the entertainment capital of the world. The gallery is a destination for my clients from Chicago, NYC, Dallas, London, etc. After the birth of my daughter Chiara Lisette, my husband died shortly afterwards and it was too much to continue on Montana Ave. as I had. I chose to close the brick and mortar business and work privately with my collectors and the style makers while raising my infant daughter. I began to expand my business base and work with clients getting them ready for the red carpet of the world, as the “Go To Style Diva”.

Even though I’m based in Laguna Beach, I’m still visible in Los Angeles at least 2 times a week (if not more) and host pop-up shows, curate exhibitions and am still committed to my original role as the “Visionary Proprietor”. Currently, I’m working on creating a new virtual way to present the artists’ eclectic works and also launching a new product that will support our billion-dollar jewelry industry. I don’t stop creating or thinking of new ways to re-invent myself or the future of the gallery. Sculpture to Wear has a legacy to be continued and I’m not about to break that chain…

 

Pricing:

  • Earrings / Cuffs: $50-$500
  • Large Necklaces: $350- $2,500, up to $15,000
  • Other wearables: $100- $2,800

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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