Artists We Love: Meet Lissy Selvius

Posted by Nora McCarthy on


Each month, we welcome a new artist into the spotlight at Lillstreet Gallery. This month's Featured Jewelry Artist collection consists of hand-crafted explorations in aluminum, silver, concrete, steel and wood. Showcased work includes limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces exclusive to Lillstreet. We are proud to present February's Featured Jewelry Artist: Lissy Selvius. 

View our special collection of Lissy's work in our Gallery and online through the month of February. Read on for 10 questions with the artist in her studio, and learn what inspires the work and world of Lissy Selvius. 

10 Questions for Lissy Selvius

What was the impetus for becoming a jewelry artist?

I’ve always been drawn to functional art and craft based mediums, and was introduced to fine craft and art jewelry during my undergrad at Cal State Fullerton. In my second semester of jewelry we were given a project that really introduced me to how jewelry can have a concept and a deeper meaning like any other fine art. After that piece I was hooked and haven’t been able to stop since then!

What inspires your forms and surface finishes?

I discovered my aluminum process when I was looking for a way to let go of control over my final form, while trying to create something that conveyed negative emotions. When I create the aluminum parts of my work I take geometric aluminum stock and heat it until it starts to melt. I collaborate with gravity as I heat the metal leaving me with a form that I only have partial control over during the process. What’s left is a tension filled form frozen between liquid and solid, with a skin that shows all the impurities of the aluminum. At times it’s purely about this process, and the silver structures that I make in response to the aluminum melts, but with some of my larger neck pieces I started with the idea of a symbol that I then distort and abstract with my aluminum process.

Who are your favorite artists?

Mark Rothko is one of my all time favorites, but I also really like Hanna Hedman, Jorge Manilla, and Lynda Benglis.

How did your current aesthetic style come to be?

Another aspect of my process is trying to convey negative emotions through the aluminum forms, so some of it stems from that. The other thing that heavily affects my aesthetic is my music interest. I love heavy metal, metal core, punk and many other sub genres that stem from these, and I spend a lot of time going to concerts and I’m always listening to it. The fashion and art work that surrounds metal culture is generally darker in color, raw, emotional, and sometimes graphic. There’s also a lot of appropriation of symbols within metal that I’ve referenced in my work.

What is your favorite type of object to make? (i.e. vessel, brooch, necklace, big earrings, small earrings…)?

Necklaces and earrings are my favorite. I think necklaces draw me in a lot because I feel like I have total freedom in scale. I can make something as large or as small as I want. I’m drawn to the format of earrings because I love to wear earrings so they’re fun to make.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Just keep going! It’s hard sometimes if you don’t feel like you a have a venue to show your work to keep making and progressing and trying new things. For me, making is highly cathartic, so if I don’t keep making the rest of what I’m doing, teaching, production work, fairs, or anything else, will die off without that creative outlet. The other most important thing to me is just to get your work out into the world as much as possible, and the easiest place to start is applying to group shows. Even if your work doesn’t get in it’s still seen by jurors and curators.

Do you have other creative outlets/practices?

I like to paint and draw. It’s a way for me to really calm my brain down when there’s too much floating around up there.

If you weren’t an artist, what would your dream job be?

Somewhere in the music industry, I’ve never been to inclined to play music but, maybe something to do with tours.

Any favorite meal/food?

Anything breakfast related! Especially pancakes. There’s just something about fluffy pancakes smothered in syrup that puts me in a happy place.

What has been your most memorable trip/vacation/residency?

A couple years ago I backpacked down into the Grand Canyon with my sister and husband for four days. The physical act of hiking all the way down and all the way out of the canyon with everything I needed to survive felt like such an accomplishment. And most of all to hike around the canyon among those massive rock faces and the natural forces that created the canyon I found was really humbling and inspiring.

About Lissy

Lissy Selvius is an art jeweler who lives and works in Oceanside, California. She is also a part time lecturer at California State University Fullerton. Her work is highly process based, and challenges the conventions of jewelry in scale and material. She is influenced by historic amulet symbols, and their continued visibility in contemporary culture.

Find Lissy on Instagram and Facebook

As an Art Jewelry Forum Gallery, Lillstreet Gallery has the opportunity to submit a piece from our contemporary jewelry collection to be included in AJF's monthly object feature series On Offer. View our February submission and the tempting and inspiring submissions by other AJF partner galleries here.

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