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Interview with Seb Brown


'Recent Sketches' by Seb Brown for Milly Sleeping has entered its final week (closing Sunday July 05)! As its the second of three installations showing in store this year specifically featuring new work by jewellers who draw, we were keen to know about Seb's particular take on the relationship between the 2D and the 3D. We asked him a bunch of other things, too, including about his recent travels. Thanks Seb! 

In his words:

I spent most of my time away in Berlin, UK, India and Nepal. I love India and can't wait to get back there! Although I'm absolutely an atheist, I am fascinated by religious symbology. A few of the pieces in ‘Recent Sketches’ are inspired by temple/stupa architecture from the sub-continent, and also talismanic/idol-based religious symbology.

My return to Melbourne has been so uplifting. I was quite travel weary and not really interested in starting from the beginning again in Berlin - so coming home was a lovely and refreshing experience. I had SO many ideas written down or thoughts from my travels which I'm still squeezing out of my brain.

[The ‘creative scene’] is a lot more casual and relaxed in Melbourne… Although there is definitely a certain elitism in the creative/art world here, it is nothing compared to the centuries old art establishment of Europe. We don't have art institutions of the same scale as Europe/UK (Louvre, Tate etc) but we do have a wonderful flexibility (eg. show at M. S.) and a real interest in community and cross-media collaboration. Also, creative people here are very accessible and happy to answer your questions.

People are obsessed with the new. The style of dressing is kind of 'conservative, casual'. There is a uniform: … Kuwaii cicadas, Witu bag, etc… I don't think it’s a bad thing, as it really shows an interest in supporting small business, which i think is quite unique. Thankfully we haven't been overrun by enormous chain stores and, also, we as a country have quite a bit of disposable income!

I have worked from home and from a creative studio environment - they both have their pluses and minuses: loneliness vs. noisiness, etc. I tend to flourish in any situation. I rearrange constantly! I am a nester, I collect things, get rid of them, make new things, buy/swap a lot of art, which I find incredibly inspiring, and get to meet artists who I admire.

I work in a sort of frenzy, doing everything at once: orders, experiments, going to the PO, picking up supplies, deliveries, meetings with clients. Although sometimes I have a light bulb moment and I have to run into the studio to make something that has popped into my head.The work is an ever-evolving, long-running trial phase. Each piece is made quite quickly but the whole 'Thing' is a big snowballing mass.

I try to limit waste, re-use scraps, and make do with what I have at the time where I am. Sustainability is very important. We have limited natural resources. I'm still coming to terms with my work being made from metal ripped from the ground.

My work deals with notions of 'preciousness' and 'value'. An ugly, inelegant thing made from 'precious' metal. Why is something valuable? Is it imbued in the object? Is it valuable because I say it is - is it valuable because the wearer says it is? I know how much the piece costs to make but why does someone pay 'cost' price for something, and an over-inflated price for something else?

The monetary value I put on my work is whatever I feel comfortable accepting for the piece. I'm quite flexible. Although sometimes I will make something that I can't bear to part with - not for any amount.

Sometimes I make what I draw, but not intentionally. Drawing and painting have a parallel relationship to my jewellery - feeding off each other and re-investing into one another.

I am definitely interested in trying new things all the time. I have been painting for years but i'm still yet to come up with a painting I am happy with. Although I can draw for days and come up with heaps of stuff I like. I love photoshop, instagram - the technology we have at the moment is so damn exciting! I love melding traditional materials (clay, silver, etc.) with modern tech - so good!

I’d also love to try out embroidery, large sculpture, bronze casting, slip casting…

Maybe I’m a little too multi-faceted? I think we live in a time when you can happily work across media and be respected for it. If you say you're an artist, you are an artist. My [recent] foray into ceramics is just another part of the ever-evolving interest into form/texture.

Could there one day be a range of Seb Brown sportswear? Never! I think the clothing industry is generally unsustainable. I don't like to work in 'collections' or work seasonally, as I think the current fashion system (eight collections a year or whatever) is broken. I work within the 'slow' fashion/design system; hand made, small scale, personal, intimate.

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Hello and goodbye.