AJF Announces Winner and Finalists for the 2024 Young Artist Award
San Antonio, TX, USA—Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) is pleased to announce that Bryan Parnham (US) has won the 2024 Young Artist Award. The four finalists are Margo Csipö (US), Aaron Decker (US), Corrina Goutos (US/Germany), and Everett Hoffman (US). The winner and finalists will all exhibit their work at Platina Stockholm during Schmuck, the annual international art jewelry fair in Munich held this year from February 28–March 3, 2024. They will also be presented to the audience on the main stage at the Internationale Handwerksmesse on the afternoon of Saturday, March 2, 2024. The winner and finalists will be interviewed on AJF’s website over the next few months, and we look forward to sharing more about these talented artists with you.
The following makers were ranked sixth through 10th place: Danica Drago (Canada), Alex Kinsley (Canada), Steven KP (US), Cong Ma (US), and Mengjie Mo (China/US). To honor them, AJF will publish a photo essay later this year that contains additional information about them and images of their work.
The Young Artist Award is given to acknowledge promise, innovation, and individuality in the work of emerging artists and to advance the career of the recipient. The competition attracted 70 applicants from a number of different countries. The winner and finalists were judged on originality, depth of concept, continuity of design, and quality of craftsmanship. This year’s jurors were 2022 Young Artist Award winner Mallory Weston (US); maker Ted Noten (Netherlands); and collector and gallerist Atty Tantivit (Thailand). The winner receives an unrestricted cash prize of $7,500, and the finalists each receive $1,000. For the third cycle in a row, the Young Artist Award competition is generously supported by collectors Karen and Michael Rotenberg, whose collection focuses on the innovative use of alternative materials by emerging talent and mid-career artists. AJF would also like to thank AJF board member Sofia Björkman, the owner of AJF member gallery Platina Stockholm, for providing a showcase for the winner and finalists during Schmuck.
2024 AJF YOUNG ARTIST AWARD WINNER: Bryan Parnham
2012 BFA in craft and material studies, Virginia Commonwealth University
There’s an imagined audience member looking over my shoulder each day in the studio, saying things like, “What asshole would walk around with that tacked to their chest?” It’s seldom addressed how absurd our medium of choice is. The field is cliquish, arcane, and founded largely on notions of class and consumerism. So, in part, it’s easy to indulge the mischief of making the wearer look foolish. Then again, these are things I need to make in order to digest big ideas. Aesthetics. Structuralism. Ontology. Modernism. Semiotics. All those -ologys and -isms that are easier to swallow with a tall glass of foolishness. This work is a personal attempt at turning theory into praxis. An engagement with the Proustian moment and the moment of the Absurd. Grasping at a synthesis of sentimentality and cynicism. Sweet and salty. Making or wearing these works might cause you to look like an asshole. But it might also give you an opportunity to question and reconsider seemingly self-evident ideas.
The motivation and starting point is very interesting. Original work—very good in the continuation of his work—very well made.
Superb print-making (etching) and jewelry-making skills can be seen throughout this collection of work. Even though optical illusion is nothing new in visual art, it is rather new in the field of contemporary jewelry, and it is nicely incorporated into pieces of wearable art here. The strength also lies in the subjects and the images used. The in-your-face quality of the chosen images makes the work even stronger.
These works are hilarious, concise, and completely confounding. Interacting with these pieces is a process of upending perception. Parnham constructs his imagery from immediately recognizable discarded materials and refreshingly lowbrow symbols of American culture. His carefully constructed deceptions are supported through utterly convincing craft: a well-honed etching process and the painstaking construction of a fabricated scaffolding that supports each work.
2022 AJF YOUNG ARTIST AWARD FINALIST: Margo Csipö (US)
2017 BFA in industrial design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
As a writer, illustrator, and jeweler, I am fascinated with the language of symbols and visual metaphors and how they live on the body. My muses can be enigmatic or overt: a stone wall in the midst of construction or demolition, a pair of hands using scissors to cut a string, a dandelion in stages of growth and death. Repetition and connectivity are common devices in both jewelry and storytelling, and the images I render are engraved in mother-of-pearl and riveted to intensely fabricated linkages and mesh. Structure builds the relationships between illustrations, bringing a story to life on the body. The tales these images construct are ones of ambiguity and unknowns. Society often neglects stories for those outside of the norm, so I craft narratives that seek answers to questions that the culture I grew up in failed to supply me with. I hunt through iconography to define my queerness, my identity as a child of an immigrant, and the other unknowns I find myself confronting.
I am fascinated by the barriers and obstacles carefully inscribed in Margo Csipö’s work: crumbling stone walls and enticing mazes. In other pieces, a sequence is presented in panels like a comic book, a slowly blinking eye or the process of prying open a clam. Her work seems to reference a deep human need, something primordial. Logic, frustration, and beauty are presented in equal measure. There is a real range presented in this series, larger sculptural headpieces existing alongside pictorial linkage systems. I’m drawn to Csipö’s use of luscious materials and the vibration that occurs between the bold red engraved linework and the luminous mother-of-pearl.
2024 AJF YOUNG ARTIST AWARD FINALIST: Aaron Decker (US)
2015 MFA in metalsmithing, Cranbrook Academy of Art
My relationship with objects is complicated. I hate how they can make us, how they can let others make us. Take the phone in your pocket, the shoes you’re wearing, the piercings you may or may not have. As a queer person who grew up in the military, I am fixated on how objects could make a man, [and] more acutely in this work, how a boy can be shaped by his toys. Imagine a prince presented with a bejeweled T-Rex. In his gilded room he plays with this monster, ruining small wooden houses, eating townspeople. Its glass skin glistens green as villagers are swallowed up in silver teeth splitting wooden spines clear in half. The villagers’ muted screams echo… Combining references to toys and Fabergé, I use enamel as a material embedded in the history of royal courts, monarchical traditions, and military recognition. My goal: to quote objects with a troubled past. In this work I deal with a simple fact—that some [of the] objects we adore so greatly (royal jewels, gemstone-encrusted animals, enameled military medals) come from a time in history when violence equated to wealth. Even today, it still does. I camouflage in a plaything, a toy, a collection of parts, a reflection of a person, a prince, a boy.
This body of work is the complete package. The maker is highly creative and skilled. I like the element of surprise as one slowly takes apart the “model” to find wearable pieces hidden in strange places. I can’t wait to touch and play with this piece in person.
2024 AJF YOUNG ARTIST AWARD FINALIST: Corrina Goutos (US/Germany)
2013 BFA in jewelry and objects, Savannah College of Art and Design
Trait Bait unravels narratives of nonhumans as resources, exposing the estrangement of having lost our attunement with, and awe for, nature. Neglecting to accentuate the natural beauty of the shell’s form, the artist colonizes it rather with stubborn intent, invasively splicing through the once-living exoskeleton until it is dissected beyond recognition. Studying techniques which exemplify mankind’s imposition onto nature, the artist added connection methods from ancient tree-grafting to modern surgical interventions to her repertoire of silversmithing connections. In an unapologetic manner, anatomical traits are pasted together with an industrial logic, resulting in a Frankensteinian composition that is one part spandrels and vestigial traits of evolutionary biology and one part AI deepdream. What remains uncertain is whether these hybrid creatures are exciting postcolonial eco-feminist prototypes or organisms exploited by human intervention.
I appreciate the discordant contrast between cold sterile hardware and soft fleshy shell in Goutos’s work. She forces these materials to coexist, willing the elements together into an unlikely composition. I particularly enjoy the more dimensional pieces, where curved shards of shell are meticulously matched. In other works, abstract compositions are arranged, allowing the eye to traverse gentle color gradients and natural patterning, sharply punctuated by flashes of stainless steel.
2024 AJF YOUNG ARTIST AWARD FINALIST: Everett Hoffman (US)
2018 MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University
Zinc and stainless steel are metals often associated with industrial applications functioning as corrosive resistant materials that we overlook as we pass by day to day. These humble metals are used as substrates to display vintage rhinestones that have been meticulously set into place. Each hand-cut zinc setting creates a new avenue for viewing the unnoticed metal. The bedazzled surface encrusted with rhinestones offers a new point of view, challenging the status quo of material hierarchy.
[The maker has a] good awareness that “cheap” material can have a function in aesthetics. The artist finds a new beauty within cheap stuff [but] it goes beyond this!
Contact: Nathalie Mornu
Email: nathalie (at) artjewelryforum (dot) org
About the Young Artist Award
The biennial AJF Young Artist Award recognizes new and exciting work that will direct the future development of art jewelry. The international 2024 competition was open to makers of wearable art jewelry age 35 and under who were not currently enrolled in a professional training program. Work submitted must have been unsupervised and not submitted for a BFA or MFA show. Submitted work must have been completed within the previous two years.
Art Jewelry Forum is a nonprofit organization spreading awareness and increasing appreciation of art jewelry worldwide since 1997. Its diverse community of artists, collectors, critics, educators, galleries, historians, makers, and writers is united by a passion for art jewelry. AJF advocates for art jewelry through an ambitious agenda of education, conversation, and financial support. It commissions critical writing that sets the standard for excellence in the field and publishes artjewelryforum.org, an internet resource for original content on art jewelry.
We welcome your comments on our publishing, and will publish letters that engage with our articles in a thoughtful and polite manner. Please submit letters to the editor electronically; do so here.