Joanne Tan is graduated last year from Central Saint Martins with her project ‘Not Your Average Beauty’. She questions and discusses the concept of beauty and today’s media beauty standards through jewellery. She’s interested in the interaction between humans and objects and human’s complexity.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Art and design are my way of going all out in self-expression. Thus, as an artist, I see myself as the one who creates conversation with or through jewellery; who gives new life towards jewellery and redefines what people would perceive as jewellery.
Why is your project about celebrating natural features through enhancement instead of plastic surgery?
Not Your Average Beauty collection is a project that I want to create conversation and discussion on the topic of beauty and plastic surgery. Through my design, I would like society to be exposed to an alternative form of beauty enhancement and rethink about what plastic surgery and what beauty is about.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is a very dependent entity and heavily influenced by our surroundings. Human aren’t born with an innate knowledge of beauty. But, we acquire the knowledge of beauty through our cultures, societies and mass media.
How much impact does your work have on society?
I believe my work will kick start a paradigm shift on what society would perceive as jewellery and elegance. The reaction for Not Your Average Beauty collection is very subjective. People would either like it or not based on their personal perspectives.
Can you tell me a little about the design process, how do you start your design and what’s your goal?
My work is concept driven with topical approaches. Thus, I would first set a theme for the collection, followed by doing a wide range of research related to the theme in the idealization process. Ultimately, I want to create visual impacts, conversation and interaction through or with jewellery using minimal and subtle design.
In an interview, you said you’re interested in human identity. In what way is this related to jewellery?
Throughout history, jewellery has been worn not only to beautify our body, but also to communicate social status, identity and even to protect one from evil spirits and misfortune. When a piece of jewellery is worn, it visually communicates who we are, who we would like to be, what kind of social group we belong to and so on. It reveals information such as character, taste, cultural background, sexual preference, economic status and educational achievement. Above all these shape our identity.
What’s your dream?
People use technology and social media platforms as mediums of communication. My dream is for jewellery to be a means of communication, i.e. the interaction between object and individual when one wears it.
Besides the launch of your own brand ‘JOANNE . T’, what does the future hold for you professionally?
I believe life is limitless, as in my journey as an artist and designer. I hope through various forms of collaboration, we could work together to learn and explore the unlimited. I personally am very excited to see what’s awaiting ahead.
Nine van der Wal