Bejeweled Pistols and Guns That Can Melt

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A provocative exhibition by the Dutch artist Rian de Jong tackles the sizzling-button concern of guns. Earning inventive use of components this kind of as paraffin wax, plastic foam, and twigs, de Jong has established jewellery and objects in the condition of guns that express her shock and outrage more than the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. The exhibition, at Gallery Loupe, in Montclair, NJ, closes Might 21, 2022.

Rian de Jong in Lannemezan, France, putting on Hey Guys, Shoot That Damn Issue, 2020, pendant, cardboard, coral, acrylic, gold-plated chain, picture courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Altmann: You initial explored the difficulty of guns for the exhibition One particular Environment, offered by Gallery Loupe, which questioned 40 intercontinental jewelers in the spring of 2020 to create a pendant in response to COVID. You created a necklace identified as Hey Fellas, Shoot That Damn Point, with a gun built from cardboard on one particular side and a piece of coral that represented COVID on the other. You also produced some gun-formed brooches. Just after that, why did you stay with the concept of guns?

Rian de Jong: I could not come free from the topic—I was in the grip of those people pistols for the A person Environment exhibition. It was COVID, and we have been dwelling in France at our dwelling in the Pyrénées, which is in the type of Frank Lloyd Wright. And there was this astonishing news about a run on arms revenue in the US. And then a photograph from Lansing, MI, from a demonstration against the lockdown, of individuals carrying weapons on their chests. It was in each newspaper in Europe. I couldn’t imagine it, just going for walks the streets with this kind of a armed forces weapon. I was stunned that guns were authorized in a crowd like this. And that it is seemingly ordinary in the US. In Europe, we just can’t have an understanding of it. Guns are really controlled. So that was the commence.

Rian de Jong, Lattice, 2020, brooch, copper, 64 x 18 x 38 mm, photograph: artist

You put in 14 years dwelling on a 50-foot boat with your husband, Herman, browsing dozens of nations around the world and participating with cultures that are really distinct from The Netherlands. Your perspective as an outsider brings a fresh watch to people of us who are living in the US and who may well have just acknowledged the epidemic of gun violence as something we just cannot fix.  

Rian de Jong: Sure, the cultural variances get me thinking. For this project, I questioned, what does defending you with a weapon signify? Are you shielding oneself, or inciting violence and hatred? Is it to demonstrate you have ability? Why is it so crucial to have a gun in your motor vehicle, beside your mattress?

Rian de Jong, Blackberry, 2020, object, blackberry branches, 730 x 100 x 10 mm, photograph: artist

The most remarkable piece in the exhibition is an item identified as Blackberry, a two-foot-extensive gun manufactured from blackberry branches. How did you build it?

Rian de Jong: We have numerous blackberry bushes growing on our land in France. When I trim them, the thorns prick me. I get scratches. And I considered: I have to make a gun from them. I dried the branches and sewed the twigs together utilizing crochet stitches. I want anyone to assume, “If I decide that gun up, I will get pricked.” I want you to envision the pain of getting the weapon in your fingers, the thorns that sting your skin. There are threads hanging from the entrance of the gun, and from the threads are drops of modeling clay painted pink that drip down. The purple speaks for itself.

Rian de Jong, Powering Bars, 2021, object, black wax, copper, chilly enamel, 157 x 119 x 18 mm, photograph: artist

Several of the gun-shaped objects are built from paraffin wax. Why did you use wax?

Rian de Jong: Wax is about fragility. For the object Driving Bars, I made use of black wax, which is very tender, for the gun. The contours of the gun are copper and cold enamel, which I produced by electroforming. The gun is imprisoned. It is caged. Wax makes the gun vulnerable. Usually, a gun is really potent, but this 1 would melt with warmth, so it is not a gun. It’s an illusion. If it melts, the contour of the gun will continue being.

Rian de Jong, Dolled Up, 2022, item, copper, Swarovski crystals, 109 x 18 x 48 mm, photograph: artist

You’ve adorned some objects with Swarovski crystals. What prompted you to add these colourful, sparkly stones?

Rian de Jong: I was pondering about historical weapons, those that sultans and kings have. I also preferred to provide some humor, to not make it all also severe. It’s nevertheless a gun, it is still risky, but you can also make exciting of it.

The objects are both jewellery and object for me. You put on it. You maintain it in your hand. You adhere it concerning your waistline and your skin. It may evoke humor, a smile, a question, a thought, and probably also duty. By way of creativity, you may perhaps be in a position to make people comprehend that they really do not want to have just about anything to do with the electrical power and murderous traits of weapons.

Rian de Jong, Religion, 2021, necklace, paraffin, copper, modeling clay, thread, acrylic, 249 mm in diameter, image: artist

Did you fret that the exhibition would be too controversial?

Rian de Jong: Of course, of program. But I had to do it, mainly because it haunted me. This work is intensive, I notice that, but artwork has to make a statement. For Americans, it could be a bit confronting. I hope that People are confronted by this. What I would like is for people today to put on a single of my pieces, or have one at residence, and have it start out a discussion.

Rian de Jong, Blue, 2021, pendant, copper, paint, 53 x 18 x 43 mm, picture: artist

Tell me about Blue, a pendant necklace with a little upside-down gun manufactured of wrapped copper wire which is painted blue.

Rian de Jong: Good friends who arrived to the studio were searching at this necklace, and at initially they didn’t know what they ended up seeing, and then at a person instant they observed that it was a gun. And I like that. You really do not see it at initially look, but on a second glance.

The pendant hangs from a slender brown rope.

Rian de Jong: The way a piece connects to the entire body, I like that to be as humble as attainable, so I employed rope. It shows that you can make putting items with humble components.

Rian de Jong, Red, 2020, object, crimson wax, 157 x 33 x 89 mm, photograph: artist

Crimson—a gun made from red wax sticks—sits in a light-blue cardboard box, and on major of the box you place a map with crimson dots marking all the sites of mass shootings in the United States. What do you hope it will get persons pondering about?

Rian de Jong: People do not notice how several shootings there have been. When you see it on the map, you notice the number is enormous. The gun is a bit playful. It seems to be like licorice. You want to bite it.

Rian de Jong, Ring Gun, 2022, ring, paraffin, copper, chilly enamel, 69 x 13 x 89 mm, photograph: artist

Ring Gun is a a few-inch paraffin gun included in a vine-like sample of silver chilly enamel. It is attached to a ring, which matches in excess of the finger, although the gun is tucked in the hand.

Rian de Jong: I like that you can hold it, you can really feel it, you can demonstrate it. It is a bit naughty.

Rian de Jong, Tender, 2021, item, plastic foam, 135 x 8 x 94 mm, image: artist

Your lifetime of journey has typically encouraged your get the job done. This assortment was produced in the course of the pandemic, when journey was limited. How did remaining place in France have an impact on this work?

Rian de Jong: We applied to be on land 50 % the year and on our boat the other 50 %. That stopped with COVID. But you even now have the memory of touring, that is constantly with you. Often I really don’t come to feel the inspiration for do the job at the second we are traveling, but it arrives later on, usually a lot later on. It just arrives.

Rian de Jong, Bloody Guns, 2021, brooch, modeling clay, pigment, 119 x 33 x 84 mm, image courtesy of the artist

What conjures up you to maintain developing jewelry?

Rian de Jong: I love that you have on it on your physique, that it exhibits who you are. It is portion of your getting. It is what you appreciate. It’s who you are.

To master far more about the parts in this exhibit, examine out the exhibition webpage, right here.

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