Wednesday, August 21, 2013

INTERVIEW | Tyler Durtschi of Dark + Dawn

 Photo by Myles Pettengill

So first of all tell us a little about yourself. Who is Tyler Durtschi?

 Hi! Thank you so much for the interest in the stuff I'm making! I grew up in Utah, just north of Salt Lake City in a pretty standard suburban setting. I moved to Los Angeles about 9 years ago and feel like this is home right now, but I still have the itch to move around a bit. My family was pretty religious growing up, and although I don't consider myself religious now, it's been the source of a lingering fascination with the symbolism and mythology behind it, which has fueled a lot of my work.

When did you first get involved in jewellery making? How did the idea & concept of the brand Dark + Dawn come to fruition?

 I started making jewelry about 6 years ago. It started off really basic. I was mostly digging around in flea markets for old religious medallions, and random old stuff, and putting the pieces together on necklaces. The more rust, tarnish, dings, and wear pieces had the better. Eventually I had some ideas for pieces I wasn't just going to be able to find so I asked a few jewellers what I would need, bought some supplies, and got to work. It's been a real learning curve, and I've had plenty of disasters, but it has been and continues to be an amazing journey.
So I was making jewelry for friends, and eventually selling the stuff, before there was a name or any branding. The name and branding were really inspired by what I was already making, and my super talented friend Mat Mickel, who is a graphic designer and clothing designer for The End, helped me lock down the name and the logo.

How would you describe the jewellery of Dark + Dawn?

 I would describe the jewelry as a juxtaposition of very clean geometric design with more organic fluid shapes, inspired by nature and religious mythology 

Where do you draw your influences for the label?

 I have a real love for architecture which informs a lot of the more geometric work that I do, and like I said before a real fascination with religious symbolism and mythology.

Who are some of your personal fashion & style icons?

 Most of my icons would fall more into the art world. I'm not a particularly fashion obsessed guy. Wim Delvoye is a definite icon for me. His work is dark, and hilarious, and spans so many different scales, and materials it's hard to wrap your head around. I've also always really loved Derrick Cruz's line of jewelry, Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons. His attention to detail and concept, down to packaging, are really inspiring.
How would you describe your creative process from idea to execution?

 I'm very hands on. I don't usually sketch my designs out, unless I'm working with someone on a custom piece and they want to see a concept before I start. I'll do quite a bit of researching images, and thinking about the overall form of the piece until I feel settled on an idea. I'll make a quick mock-up of a design using cheap bailing wire if it's a complex shape that I'm going to hand fabricate directly with precious metals, or if it's something I'm going to cast then I'll just start carving directly into the wax.

Who are your favourite designers and labels and is there any one designer you would love to collaborate with?

 I think that's already happened. I collaborated with a few of my best friends to put together a small capsule collection for their line The End. I'm really excited to continue working with them. When it comes down to it I'm a lot more inspired by my friends than anyone else.

Have you ever had any celebrity clients? Is there anyone you would really love to design a piece for?

 Friends in a few stores my stuff sells at have told me about a few different celebrities buying a piece here and there. No one incredibly notable.
Do you do any custom work and if so can you tell us about it?

 A big percentage of the work I do is custom. It keeps things interesting, and I'm not just pumping out a million of the same thing. I think i would get burnt out really quick without that aspect of my work. It's always fun bouncing ideas off of people who will take a concept in a completely different direction than I would have gone.

When you are not designing what can we find you doing? 

 Hanging out with friends. Hiking. Running. Chillin with my dog.

What can we expect from Dark + Dawn in the future?

 More more more. A few fun collaborations. Once the collaborations are knocked out its time to get on another solid collection. Turning into a business man and figuring out the logistics of letting this thing continue to grow. Etc. Etc.