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Meet Qin Xu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Qin Xu.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Qin. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I am a professionally trained and learned artist who works with fine art jewelry and fiber art. I am currently based in Los Angeles, California.

Since the beginning of my studies towards this craft, I have been interested in using organic and natural forms and materials to narrate stories about myself and others. The human body and scenes from nature inspire me because research into the mechanics of who we are, as well as what the world around us is made of, has helped me find my own, unique perspective when it comes to identifying and exporting emotions. Through jewelry-making, I want to create works with my artistic expression embedded in tangible forms. I hope that in doing this, I will be able to build dynamic, yet personal relationships with the wearers.

I came to this understanding of jewelry work because of my experiences in wearing them. At the age of four, my grandmother gifted me with a set of colorful glass rings to play with. They were so delicate that no matter how careful I was with them, they fell into pieces and broke quickly. When the last ring shattered in my hand, great grief overcame me. I realized there was an ineffable bond between the glass rings and myself because they were a symbol of the relationship I have with my grandmother. Even though they were only meant for aesthetic beauty, I saw them as something much more, and as I grew older, this sentiment of jewelry being able to contain emotional significance developed into my desire to craft pieces with just as much care.

My passion in exploring different art mediums and materials started in 2011 as an undergraduate student at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation, I joined the Academy of Art University for their Industrial Design M.A. program in 2015, where I acquired professional skills in product design. All of these experiences and learning how to work in industrial design afforded me with the abilities I needed to turn abstract ideas into physical objects. As my approach to create and comprehend my design evolved, I began to see and embrace myself as an artist, too.

My experience in the fine arts world has also changed how I view my work. When I was a student in San Francisco, I visited an Edvard Munch exhibition and was deeply touched by a female character who appeared in many of his paintings. She had long, orange hair and I was caught by surprise. I asked myself, was this character “me?” Both her appearance and the striking, traumatizing atmosphere her presence created in the artist’s work echoed my state of mind at the time. This was a period in which I began realizing my sensibility and sensitivity towards artwork could transform and translate into meaningful creations of my own.

After I graduated with a degree in Industrial Design in 2017, I worked on finding a path in which I could express my true passion. I began to seriously consider myself as an artist after learning professional jewelry metalsmithing at the Precious Metal Arts Studio in Santa Monica, California. During my time there, I became proficient in metalsmithing and spent time exploring and working with different materials. My focus on materials, specifically wool, has helped me expand my perception of what is possible when it comes to jewelry and fiber art. Through my work with the studio, I was able to create works and develop them in my own particular, vibrant, and whimsical style.

Has it been a smooth road?
In comparison to my peers, I feel my path has been smooth and paved with great support from my family and friends. When I moved to Los Angeles, I met many artists who encouraged me to stick to my path. Despite living in a major metropolitan city, I was able to find a variety of beautiful, natural sceneries that I could draw a lot of inspiration from.

For example, one showcase of my art jewelry work, Threading of Ocean, was filmed on a quiet beach in Malibu. This work explores the relationship between nature and humans in a poetic approach and accompanies images of my work. In the film, a woman salvages objects from the ocean, such as shells and petals, to symbolize how humanity depletes resources from nature while it accepts it with tolerance.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I accept custom design work using wool as the main material. Since the success of my work Toning in 2017, the chameleon has become an important theme and element in my creative expression. At the time, many of my clients were interested in having a chameleon that could express their personal style, so it became an ongoing work and challenge I was happy to have.

Inspired by the support, I created a piece titled Chameleon last year that was an architectural jewelry installation that replicated the animal’s natural living environment. Crafted with materials recycled from clothes I personally wore over the years, the project explores the mystery and singularity of this reptile in human mythology, as well as the interpretations of what it means to be a “chameleon” in current times.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Zihui Song and Mengyue Deng

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