Then & Now – dmdmetal


– by Judit Wild

For the first post of a new year we have someone special for you: someone who combines graffiti, jewelry and sculptures. Derek from dmdmetal attended an art school, but leart metalsmithing from his dad, so he could impress the girls he dated with his own jewelry. I wish I could have been one of those girls!


You have a BFA in sculpture. How did you end up designing jewelry?
My dad taught jewelry and metalsmithing at Ohio State from 68′-88′ and continued to teach at local schools after retirement. So, later when I got into college he planted the seed with little casting projects and helping me make stuff for girls I  was dating. After college, my curiosity remained and I persued it further when I  moved to California taking some classes at Revere Academy and other places in the Bay Area.

Do you wear your own jewelry? Which one is your personal favourite and why?
I do wear my own jewelry. I normally wear two rings. I wear one ring that my dad made and the other one rotates my collection of bands. As far as favorites, maybe the path ring because it all the initial models are so painstakingly hard to make to achieve that effect.

How do you evaluate the change between your first pieces and the works you do now? In what way did your style and/or technique change, and why?
I think the vocabulary of my work has expanded a bit into more about textures and reliefs. Where as things in the past were more graphic and flat. In my current work, I am getting more into creating a closer relationship with my drawing and jewelry. In particular the types of line work that appears is in some recent pendants and earrings. i.e. mission hoops, owl pendant etc. The graffiti aspect of it has been apart of that change as well especially with the train hoop. Its pretty fun to draw graffiti on such a miniatures scale.


As I see your style changed a lot in 7 years: from simple and smooth to something urban, contemporary and above all very statuesque. What do you think?
I like the direction things are going right now. A lot of my growth comes from years of experimentation and a lot of failures. I make a lot of work and make edits. I probably have 3 times as much work on etsy sitting on my bench. Overall, I think drawing more connections between my interests with the metal work and look forward to refining that along with the overall feel.

Which area do you think you evolved a lot? What would be your advice to yourself in 2002?

I think i evolved in making my designs more practical and within my current means. My advice to Derek of the past would be to learn how to cut molds better! I would of saved myself tons of time and money if I new how to make better molds. Its an important part of my process and wish I had better hand on it early on.

What kind of evolution do you see for yourself necessary in the future? What are your plans (if any)?

Aside from expanding my collection of pieces and painting more graffiti, I would like to learn some CAD programs such as rino and zbrush. I think they could be very helpful tools to me if I am willing to deal with the learning curve. I think its important to keep the human hand in the work however, I see them as a postive component in the world of design and doing custom jewelry.

Dmdmetal –
More evolutions:
Judit Wild:

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