Sydney-based artist Danielle Karlikoff is a woman of humble ambition. One day, she hopes to collaborate with Elon Musk on the first collection of jewellery for planet Mars. The edges of Karlikoff’s gold rings and necklaces look half melted, as if they’ve survived a nuclear apocalypse. One silver cuff bears a striking resemblance to scrunched up alfoil. Another piece fuses precious stones to clear plastic tubing. These creations are trash meets treasure meets science fiction, which isn’t really surprising considering Karlikoff was apparently an alien in a past life.
Karlikoff describes her work as “a buffet of hard candy and wet concrete”. Accurate. When she’s not making jewellery, Karlikoff is making images. The slashie has shot and directed film clips for Chunyin (aka Rainbow Chan) and her sister Gina Karlikoff (aka Kimchi Princi). Get acquainted with the otherworldly artist below.
“I’m Danielle Karlikoff. I make whatever you wanna commission me to create which seems to be mostly jewellery at the moment.
“I’ve been living in Sydney since ‘92. I don’t feel or see a direct influence from Sydney in my work but there’s no doubt it’s shaped the way I avidly absorb styles from all over the world, as I don’t identify so much with ‘national’ aesthetics. I guess you could say that feeling a bit removed from all the art and design meccas of the world has made me hungrier.
“Jewellery is something I’ve always been obsessed with—accessories in general. For me they can be so much more powerful, fun and versatile than clothing. I love the sculptural aspect of it all. Making stuff is something I knew I had to do since I was about five. I was selling beaded jewellery for $2 at the primary school fete with my best friend Julia. For a long time I didn’t know it was possible to be a jewellery designer, but I’m so glad it is.
“I think that jewellery so often seems to exist at either ends of the consumer spectrum and I like the idea of blending them. For example, taking aspects from the luxury world such as custom consultations, precious stones and metals and then using materials and processes associated with mass production such as plastics, fake stones, spray paint and mechanical components.
“[Custom design] is a way of working I fell into rather than deliberating. At first it was just by general demand and then I felt it was really the only way I would want to make jewellery. I came to realise that everyone kind of wins with custom design. The customer gets to pitch their dream piece that nobody else will have and I get to make something new, exciting and exclusive every time. People quite often suggest I ‘make a line’—whatever that means—but that just doesn’t feel right to me… for now, anyway.
“I have never been a fan of nostalgia. I find future aesthetics—or how they have been portrayed thus far—to be far more exciting, so you could definitely say I am very influenced by sci-fi stuff. I’ve also been told I was an alien in a past life…
“I think the aesthetic of my work is far more influenced by the man-made world. If you look at my camera roll there’s loads more pics of buildings and industrial junk than sunsets. The natural world is definitely influencing my work and life more and more though. I’m obsessed with the colours and patterns of Tortoise Beetles right now. The colour combinations in nature blow me away.
“Playfulness isn’t something I tick off a list or anything, I actually often feel surprised when people say that because I wasn’t specifically thinking of it. I guess ‘fun’ must be programmed into my personal radar of judging if something looks good or not, haha.
“I feel most creatively ‘fertile’ when I’m working on a number of projects across different mediums so I guess they all kind of feed into each other on a very sub-conscious level. For example I notice my perspective on a jewellery piece will be freshened up with new insight once I’ve returned to it after having worked on a totally unrelated drawing or something. Cross-pollination, I suppose.
“Right now I’m working on 15 commissions: some elopement rings, funky earrings, re-making new jewellery out of old jewels, a ring based on the card game Magic: The Gathering, to name a few. I’m looking forward to stalking Sheepadoodles on Instagram and plotting a super huge collection/solo exhibition hopefully for the end of 2018 or early 2019.”
Above: Ring commission using the customer’s family heirloom gemstones
Above: Mitre 10 tube experiments
Above: Sun and moon pendant commission
Above: Squashed Tube Hoop commission
Above: Sterling silver cuff commission