My work celebrates the history of enameling and its longstanding tradition of storytelling… Using traditional techniques, my work revives the medium through a contemporary context fuelled by street art, comics, Pop art and counterculture. Employing a combination of jewelry techniques and illustration, my work mixes high and low art, while transporting viewers into a world more colorful and dreamlike than our own. Through the process of enameling, my illustrations transcend the two-dimensional realm of paper and are given new life in the physical world as wearable objects. With this work, I am reviving the traditions of enameling, as well as bringing sculpture and illustration into the context of contemporary jewelry.
Born in Montréal in 1990, Aurélie Guillaume studied art at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal from 2006 to 2012. While trained as an illustrator and graphic designer, she eventually found the computer-based design process limiting. Wanting to work more with her hands, she switched to jewelry and decided to pursue coursework at the École de Joaillerie in Montréal. While there she was introduced to enameling by her instructor Christine Yelle and “fell in love with the technique.” In her third year she met Pamela Ritchie, a jeweler and professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design who told her about NSCAD’s program, facilities, and educational philosophy. She subsequently enrolled there earning her BFA in jewelry design and metalsmithing in 2015. While at NSCAD, she studied with four instructors in the metals and jewelry program: Pamela Ritchie, Kye-Yeon Son, Lillian Yuen, and Tom Ferrero. However, it was Lillian Yuen who had the most profound influence on her work and “helped her become the artist she is today.” She left the school with broad-ranging expertise in metalwork and a great passion for enameling.
A master of the cloisonné technique, Guillaume produces vividly colored brooches inspired by her love of comic books, cartoons, and other popular media. While the titles she gives her figures meld rich layers of reference and content, her narratives are open-ended as she leaves the ultimate meaning of her work to the wearer and the viewer. The artist also considers these large brooches sculptural panels that may be displayed on easels when not worn.
For more information on Aurélie Guillaume, visit her website: http://aurelieguillaume.com/