Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living?
JULIAN: I am a Production Designer, for film & commercial advertising. I found my way there through my interests in Signs, Symbols, Spell craft and Semiotics. I am a believer in witchy logic and a practitioner of movie Magick. Empire Engine is a divine collaboration that brings together all aspects of these dark arts.
ERICA: I work as an art director for feature films - Julian and I frequently refer to it as being a “fantasy architect”: all of the invention of creating an environment without having to think about real physics or longevity. Fine control of the mise-en-scène attracts me because it eliminates any sort of triviality - every detail is a planned one - and this is a philosophy I try to live by. Julian and I are also building a design company called Empire Engine which will launch next year!
How did you find out about Jelena Behrend and what was your first Jelena Behrend piece?
JULIAN: We were introduced to Jelena through a few dear old friends when we were searching for a jeweler and alchemist to construct unique wedding bands for our Pagan / Masonic Ceremony.
ERICA: Jelena loomed large in our social circle but it was a while before I ever actually met her, but when I finally did at a dinner party she was easy to spot - she was wearing a black diamond encrusted ring on all ten fingers, the sight of which was apparently so intoxicating that I remember little else about the evening! Julian and I began planning our wedding shortly after, so of course we had to have our rings designed by Jelena.
What was your first encounter like, when you wore Jelena Behrend's jewelry?
ERICA: My first encounter was at the altar, so it was a very special moment indeed!
JULIAN: It was a profoundly sacred encounter because it was my wedding band, however the curious alchemy that Jelena used to blacken the gold induced a spontaneous orgasm which made our ceremony all the more special … Naughty Jelena!
And does it bring you fortune, love, and protection?
JULIAN: Indeed Jelena’s Jewelry has brought all of these as well as attract many curious and questionable admirers.
ERICA: That’s awfully virtuous - how about vanity, lust, and divination??
What are your favorite places to wear Jelena's jewelry?
ERICA: The bedroom, where else?
JULIAN: Certainly my favorite place to wear her jewelry is through Airport Security. TSA doesn’t know what to make of it, I always claim the adornments have religious significance and refuse to remove them.
What pieces are your all time favorite, and why?
JULIAN: My wedding band and anniversary band are my dearest possessions, I am proud to wear them as proof of my undying love for Erica Hohf
ERICA: Must I choose?! I love them all! One of my favorites is a custom silver choker which Jelena made spontaneously in a fit of creative energy one night. It’s my favorite mostly because watching Jelena work is half the pleasure of owning a piece of her jewelry. There are pieces that I love which are standards - like her pitbull chain, or a simple silver bracelet - but it’s those pieces that are custom made that are truly unique.
How does Jelena make the jewelry perfect for you?
ERICA: That may be an unanswerable question - it’s hard to say whether it’s a divine right or demonic possession that drives Jelena! Perhaps both!
JULIAN: Our fittings with Jelena are Magickal ceremonies complete with offerings and sacrifice
What do people say, when they see you wearing the jewelry, and how do you manage their envy?
ERICA: I get compliments nearly everywhere I go and I manage it just fine!
JULIAN: People most commonly genuflect when they view my adornments, and from time to time we select a chosen few whom we allow to caress them.
Are there pieces that you never take off, that are a part of your skin?
JULIAN: Frankly I wear my 3 rings and single cuffs every day, these have become one with me.
ERICA: I never take off any of my rings.
What pieces are you hoping to own next?
JULIAN: I am afraid it may be inappropriate to answer this question publicly… maybe if your very very naughty Jelena will tell you ;)
ERICA: I have learned by now to leave that entirely up to Jelena herself!
JULIAN JEAN-BAPTISTE LAVERDIERE was born In New York in 1971. Julian received a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in 1993 and a MFA from YALE Graduate School of Art, Sculpture program in 1995.
LaVerdiere has exhibited his art publicly in galleries and museums including; Andrew Kreps Gallery, Deitch Projects, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, PS1/ MOMA, MOCA-Miami, MOCA-Cleveland, MOCA Tucson, The Tang Museum, The Queens Museum of Art, The U.S. Library of Congress, and The United Nations General Assembly Hall.
In September 2001, LaVerdiere and fellow artist Paul Myoda, collaborated with a team of architects, public art organizations Creative Time and The Municipal Arts Society and The New York City Mayors Office, to create The Tribute in Light, an annual light memorial for the victims of the World Trade Center collapse.
In 2013, LaVerdiere co-founded a Production Design collective EMPIRE ENGINE 19 with Erica Hohf. EMPIRE ENGINE is membered with I.A.T.S.E. United Scenic Artists Local 829, and commercially represented by ICM Partners in Los Angeles Ca.
For more info on Julians Art & Design visit: www.julianlaverdiere.com
ERICA HAMILTON HOHF earned a BFA in Film & Television Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2008. After working briefly in a set design shop, she began on what became a wide range of feature films and commercials with directors like the Coen Brothers, Darren Arronofsky, and Ang Lee. She is currently art directing Paterson, a new film by Jim Jarmusch.
Erica and her husband JulianLaVerdiere are partners of Empire Engine, a design company that will officially launch next year.
PORTRAIT AND STILL LIFE BY: JJ JIMENEZ
ERICA'S JEWELRY IN THE PORTRAIT: STERLING SILVER CUFFS, CUSTOM FINISHED WEDDING BAND, ANNIVERSARY RING, STERLING SILVER SHEET RINGS AND CUSTOM HAND PAINTED CHOKER
JULIAN IS WEARING NECKLACE MADE OUT OF INTERLOCKING SIGNATURE JELENA BEHREND STUDIO BRACELETS, CUSTOM FINISHED WEDDING BAND, HIS ANNIVERSARY RING AND STERLING SILVER CUFF.
THE PORTRAIT ALSO FEATURES JULIAN'S SCULPTURE exhibited at The SILICON VALLEY show at PS.1 MOMA in 2007: SOFT TARGETS, # 3 of 51 Decapitated Eagle Heads, Black Nerf Foam, 2007
STILL LIFE: BRONZE FINGERS BY JELENA BEHREND
FOR VOLUME 1 OF "JELENA BEHREND'S OBJECTS OF DESIRE" CLICK HERE