• MEET THE ARTIST: Collegiate Swimmer Flip Turns Career as Jewelry Designer

    Posted on January 28, 2014 by in Meet the Artist

    Starting a career out of college isn’t easy these days. Many young people are finding the strength and determination to make their way in this challenging economy. But for one young free style woman, keeping her head above water in tough times is easy – thanks to her creativity.

    Colleen Clark, a collegiate swimmer at North Carolina State, always loved the Arts.  When she had to declare a major, it wasn’t terribly difficult which direction she would go. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multi-Disciplinary Studies (Education, Art & Communication) – an area in which she could use her gifts and talents, and also build a career. And because health and fitness were always central to her life, designing pieces which highlight a woman’s inner beauty seemed like a natural thing. So when it came time to plunge into the work pool full-time, Colleen combined her passion for art, her love of design and her inspiration by nature and began creating unique jewelry.

    Her work is elegant and feminine while also casual and strong. She often mixes semi-precious gemstones, sterling silver and gold-filled findings to create compositions that are captivating. Colleen’s jewelry collection is truly reflective of her zest for life and zen of character. This artist certainly doesn’t have to dog paddle to stay afloat because her jewelry is making waves of its own.

    Finding their enthusiasm for the Arts in the same heat, Robin B Gallery and Colleen discuss life in the winner’s lane.

    RBG: Why did you decide to pursue ART as a profession?

    CC: Art has always been a part of my life in one way or another, and to be able to have a jewelry business that allows me to be creative every day is a dream come true.

    RBG: Who are you most influenced by as an artist and as a person?

    CC: For me, I don’t separate myself as an artist and as a person, as weird as that sounds. Melissa Joy Manning, a fabulous jewelry artist, inspires me by the way she has taken her love of stones and talismans to an incredibly successful and Eco-friendly business. 

    RBG: What motivates you?

    CC: The greatest feeling in the world is making people happy with my jewelry. The expression on their faces when they see a piece of mine, and the joy it brings to them when they wear it, or give it as a gift is unreal. When my customers tell me that they still get compliments on a piece they bought from me years and years ago is the biggest motivation for me to give my very best every day to my business.

    RBG: What is your favorite color?

    CC: This might be very weird, but I have two- blue and green.

    RBG: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?

    CC: I hope to continuously learn new techniques that will take my creativity outside the box, but my long term goal is to be able to open studio spaces on the east and west coasts, as well as to continue growing my business and relationship with Robin B. Gallery here in Chicago.

    RBG: What impact do you hope to achieve as an artist?

    CC: I hope that my jewelry will be able to become timeless heirloom pieces that are passed down through generations and generations.

    RBG: What is the most rewarding part of being an artist?

    CC: Being able to go to work everyday doing something that I absolutely love and to be my own boss, and knowing that I’m making people happy with my jewelry.

    RBG: What advice would you give to a young artist?

    CC: The road as an artist is full of ups and downs, but learn from both the good and the not so good, and never take your eye off your dream.

    RBG: Who would you love to meet?

    CC: The world is full of artistic and interesting people that have reached their dreams, so I don’t have a specific person that I would like to meet, but instead, I would love to meet and hear all of those individuals exciting journeys on how they got to where they are.

    RBG: Where would you love to live or travel?

    CC: I would love to live wherever I am closest to my family, but I would love to travel back in time. How cool would that be?!