What do you do for a living?
I'm an artist for a living, I make sculpture and video.
How did you find out about Jelena Behrend?
Michel Auder introduced me to Jelena at a party in 2008, and I've been hooked ever since.
What was your first encounter like, when you wore Jelena Behrend’s jewelry?
I bought my first pieces on my birthday several years ago. I called Jelena and said "It's my birthday, I have money" and 15 minutes later I came over to her studio. We had a birthday drink and I purchased a bracelet, a skull necklace, and a sword necklace that she chose. I was so happy because I felt the pieces were really right for me, that I would have them forever, and happy that Jelena could spend this time with me. Then I wore everything out to dinner that night. It was a great birthday.
What are your favorite places to wear Jelena’s jewelry?
I wear most of mine all the time, except I cannot wear some of the more complex pieces when I'm working: especially a one of a kind sculptural necklace she made from a single bar of metal which loops several times around my neck - I save this one for fancy occasions.
What pieces are your all time favorite, and why?
My skull necklace that's partially made from bronze, and connects with a fish-hook clasp. I wear this one every day. There is nothing like it and it has become signature for me, something I never thought would be possible because I'm a very particular person. I love a bracelet that says "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, I HAVE MONEY" text hammered in on one side and "DID YOU FORGET" on the other side (Jelena made this for me right after I called her on my birthday). It's precious so I keep it separately from my other jewelry, and I also only wear it on special occasions.
Do they bring you fortune, love, and protection?
They must because I have been very lucky lately.
How does Jelena make the jewelry perfect for you?
I gravitate towards heavy chain bracelets, necklaces, and one of a kind pieces. But I think the pieces Jelena hand picks for me are my favorites. She knows what works with my body as much as she understands my personal tastes and interests. I think Jelena takes pleasure from choosing jewelry for people as much as she takes pleasure in hand making her work, so she has made the choosing part of her craft. She understands design and refuses to sell a piece that she doesn't think is her best. She puts her work first and works daily. This for me is what separates her as an artist from other jewelers.
What do people say, when they see you wearing the jewelry, and how do you manage their envy?
Many people want to try on my necklaces, but instead I give them Jelena's card. I keep a stack of them on my desk and a handful in my bag, and they always run out. I think anyone would be happier making an appointment rather than trying to repeat what I have. Half of the experience with buying and owning Jelena's work is the intimate choosing of a piece with her, that is unique to you. You can be jealous of my chains but really you'd be happier with your own.
What is your favorite place to wear Jelena’s jewelry? Do you sleep with them, shower with them? Are there pieces that you never take off, that are a part of your skin?
My favorite places to wear Jelena's jewelry are anywhere I'm traveling and meeting new people. And at important events, where I like to dress so that they stand out. And yes I do sleep and shower with them.
What pieces are you hoping to own next?
An elaborate Liberace style pinky ring.
PHOTOGRAPHER JJ JIMENEZ | WWW.JJ-JIMENEZ.COM
MAKE UP DANIELLA SHACTER | WWW.MAKEUPBYDANI.COM
Born in 1982 in Los Angeles, Sam Anderson currently lives and works in New York. She earned her MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include West Street Gallery, New York (2011); Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY (2013); Chapter NY, New York (2013); Cookie Butcher, Brussels (2014) Off Vendome, Germany (2014); as well as an upcoming exhibition at Mother's Tankstation, Dublin (2015). In NYC Sam is represented by CHAPTER NY.
Portrait and still life feature: custom bronze skull necklace, sterling silver curb link necklace with custom dagger charm, sterling silver pitbull bracelet, Sterling Silver Handmade Bowl.