DENVER — AiR TOUR — Issue 10
Jewelry by Xtna d’Luna
sM | What is one social issue that your art speaks to the most?
Xd ── My jewelry is heavily inspired by Latin culture and my search for roots. I grew up in the military and traveled extensively, which resulted in a disconnect from my Latin roots. Latin culture was only something I experienced sometimes when we visited family in East Los Angeles, and I think a lot about how different my life would look had I grown up in East LA or Mexico. My art is about recreating my identity, forging for myself, and finding all of the other "yo no sabo" kids a new identity. We are truly the epitome of the American ideal of the “melting pot.”
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sM | How do you select names for your pieces and how does that process contribute to your overall artistry?
Xd ── Is it too cliché to say that the pieces name themselves? Sometimes when I name a piece it is because I have a story in my mind that was telling me about this piece. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time in my studio. I found solace in the routine of the creative process, but I also felt guilty for having the privilege of time in my studio when so many people were dying and losing their jobs. I kept thinking about Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “Mask of the Red Death” and I created a pair of red sugar skull earrings that I ultimately titled the same. Other pieces are usually more benign, and the titles come from music, pop culture, Latina culture, literature, food, you name it.
sM | Having been an arts educator for the past 20 years, what has the process of teaching taught you about your craft?
Xd ── Art is subjective. Keeping that in mind, I have learned over the years not to create pieces that are not true to my vision. When I first began to accept commissions for custom work, I would agonize over what the commissioner wanted. I have learned to trust my
creativity, which is the most important thing that I try to convey to my students. That, and how every piece is an “A” if the parameters of the assignment have been met regardless of artistic capability. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone has artistic abilities. Also, never be afraid to try new techniques, which is why I am returning to school as a student to learn new skills in the jewelry design process.