Nicolas Estrada

The concept behind my jewellery is my life itself, since jewellery is my life’s complement. It allows me to define myself, to say who I am.

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Nicolas Estrada became aware of his artistic vein after studying Marketing and International Business at the Babson College in Massachusetts, achieving a master’s degree in marketing in Barcelona and after spending several years in business. It was in Barcelona, at the Massana and Llotja schools of art and design, that Nicolas made his first contact with the world of jewellery, and realised that this world offered him endless and inimitable possibilities of expression. Since then he has never ceased to explore his own possibilities and, driven by his passion and inexhaustible curiosity, has delved into various artistic territories: he studied gemmology, setting and engraving, specialised in Gemstone and Jewellery Design at the German University of Trier, mastered the traditional techniques of Berber jewellery in Kabylia and the filigree typical of the Colombian town of Santa Cruz de Mompox. He has attended countless courses all over the world to learn the most diverse techniques, and he has held countless workshops and lectures on jewellery in universities and art centres in Europe and the United States. Curiosity and attention to everything that surrounds him is a constant feature of all his work: «I am always well aware of my surroundings and my reality; sometimes this is even painful, since reality is far from ideal. Yet curiosity and exploration are fundamental in my work: I am always looking for the perfect way to connect materials, for the best way to express my feelings in my work, attending courses with masters and always being open up to cultures and techniques I don’t know about. The craft world is immense, and I am always observing, researching, learning… making lots of mistakes as well!».

Nicolas Estrada’s pieces, visible on @nicolasestradajeweler, though inspired by the reality and humanity around him, never pose ultimatums or try to teach; they represent the pure and clear gaze of an artist who seeks to provide new perspectives. For Nicolas, each piece of jewellery is imbued with immense power and value, and his meaningful artistic reflections are conveyed in an intimate dialogue between the maker, the wearer and the observer’s gaze. «The concept behind my jewellery is my life itself, since jewellery is my life’s complement. It allows me to define myself, to say who I am; to show my feelings, my skills. It allows me to create. Before starting to make a piece of jewellery I think a lot, really a lot. I am very bad at drawing and sketching, so I keep thinking about the piece all the time: I imagine it, I solve every possible problem in my head. I take my time. Then, when I finally decide to go to the bench, time flies: I can sit there the whole day, or even a few days, until the piece is finished».

Nicolas Estrada’s work is a hymn to irreverence and reflection, and it is immersed in the aura of a discipline practised with judgment and deep thought. He uses all kinds of materials, especially natural ones like wood, fibres, seeds, found objects, while for more commercial jewellery he tends to use yellow gold, silver and stones – colourful and big. Guns and skulls are recurrent symbols in his jewellery, a reminder of the violence associated with the drug business which plagued Colombia in the 1980s, especially in Medellín: «I grew up in a city breathing out violence: violence was all around me, with bomb explosions, kidnapped friends, people killed… Now that this reality is more distant, I have found a way – disseminating my jewellery with weapons – to exorcise violence and pacify those daemons I have been close to for so long. With skulls, it is different: they remind me of my childhood full of books and comics where the skull played a main roll. On the one hand, Salgari’s stories with pirates, corsairs and buccaneers, sailing the Caribbean with the skull waving on their ships’ flags. On the other hand, The Phantom, this hero created by Lee Falk, with his ring marking the skull in every villain’s chin. There is also a religious echo from Catholicism that preaches: ‘You are dust and to dust you shall return’. And the Mexican skulls, connected to the cult of the dead, when you transcend to another reality. So in a way skulls, my skulls, are the memory of a childhood full of brave characters». Nicolas’ jewellery is meant for people who dare to wear something different, extravagant and more innovative pieces. «I feel very attracted to interesting people who dare to adorn themselves in an unconventional way. Right now I am interested in topics like motorcycles and the sea and I am very interested in developing a much more masculine language that is both aggressive, interesting and wearable».

Nicolas’ publishing activity deserves a chapter of its own: five books in ten years, appreciated by experts and simple enthusiasts, dedicated respectively to earrings, brooches, necklaces, rings and bracelets: each volume contains hundreds of images of creations made by about 200 artists, and is enriched by important contributions from experts. «Right now I am enjoying the good reviews from the latest book on bracelets, its publication was delayed for almost a year because of the pandemic». And it was during the pandemic that the special project “99 Days” – which is how long quarantine lasted in Barcelona – was born. «This is a set of 99 rings that I finished last August, one for each day of confinement, each ring expressing my feelings during this unique experience and made under very special conditions: carving wood, improvising because my favourite tools were in the studio, not at home; painting according to emotions, forging the metal with a hammer, lots of rivets and repairs in the wood cracks. Some rings have words engraved, that act like a cry for help. Many of the cracks happened while taking the wood to its extreme, like this pandemic did in most of us. But I love even these cracks». Creations so peculiar demand special attention even when selling them: «I perceive the online world as cold and massive – Nicolas concludes – and I am still trying to figure out how to get into it. At the moment I prefer to take my time, meet the client and explain my work, understand his needs and make a great sale leaving us both completely satisfied».

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Theme developed by TouchSize - Premium WordPress Themes and Websites