Kristin Simmons, the New York City-based artist known for her works that comment on consumption, excess, and glamour, features jewelry by Larkspur & Hawk in Taliswoman, her newest series. The series, which will be exhibited at Galerie Mourlot in New York City this Fall, was originally inspired by jewelry editorial images that the artist saw in magazines and feature original photographs that have been translated into limited edition and one of-a-kind screenprints. Kristin, whose work is influenced by the Pop Art masters Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist, explains, “I’ve always loved jewelry editorials and the seductive allure of sparkly things. Fine jewelry as a niche, exclusive consumer product also relates to the overall themes I’m interested in. I wanted to do a screenprint featuring jewelry for quite some time, but the problem with most fashion editorials is that it’s about selling the jewelry…and that’s it. While there is artistic intent in creative styling, there is no underlying political or personal message in most features.”
When Kristin’s friend Emily Satloff, the founder of Larkspur & Hawk, suggested that they should collaborate on a project, the artist found the perfect partner. It is Kristin’s first collaboration with a brand, and working with Larkspur & Hawk is a natural fit for her. She has known Emily for over fifteen years and even interned for the brand while she was in college, when one of her tasks was to hand-paint a lookbook superimposed with photos of jewelry. Emily has watched Kristin’s artistic talent develop and appreciates her modern style and her passion for art, explaining that today she connects with the artist’s “fresh, Pop Art spirit and her always blunt sense of humor.” Emily also noted that Kristin “always manages to say through imagery and words what is bubbling below the surface and perhaps had been difficult to articulate for one’s self, but know instantly what she is referencing.”
Kristin knew that Larkspur & Hawk jewelry would be the perfect pieces to feature in her series. “One of the things I admire most about Larkspur & Hawk is the jewelry’s versatility; you can wear it whether you’re at the beach, at a black tie event, or at work. I’ll even wear the studs in the studio when I’m painting. My mom, who is in her sixties, wears Larkspur & Hawk jewelry, and my brother was able to buy a necklace as a gift when he was thirteen years old. The brand crosses all ages, and I think it is really unusual for fine jewelry to do that. Emily’s jewelry is incredibly timeless and clever, and it molds to everyone because of the different colors she uses,” Simmons observes.
It was important for Kristin to use real women in the photographs she took for the series because today, as she observes, “in advertising and branding, people will sniff out something so quickly if it isn’t authentic or if it’s overly crafted.” The artist wanted the images to be representative of the zeitgeist of millennials and women today, and so selected three of her close friends to model the jewelry for her and even posed for photos herself. Each of the women have real-life, high-powered careers (one works in finance, another works for the police force, and the third is a fertility doctor) and the images posit the idea that women can, and should, be tenacious and driven, but can also be feminine and unapologetic. Confirming the political message behind the screenprints, a percentage of sales from the artworks will be donated to Planned Parenthood. In a play on words, the project is called Taliswoman -- a talisman is a medieval name for a pendant or object that bestows special powers upon its owner.... In a similar fashion, the accessories and accoutrements with which the women have been photographed, from stacks of Larkspur & Hawk bracelets to a scalpel and a calculator, give them power and confidence.