2020.02.21    -    EPISODE #10

Arpana Rayamajhi

NYC | Jewelry Designer

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Let us introduce you to Arpana Rayamajhi, the tenth guest of the digital project #HouseOfMolteni. Read the full interview to discover her background and deep passion for different styles and aesthetics.

2020
21.02

EPISODE #10

Arpana Rayamajhi

NYC | Jewelry Designer

Let us introduce you to Arpana Rayamajhi, the tenth guest of the digital project #HouseOfMolteni. Read the full interview to discover her background and deep passion for different styles and aesthetics.

1 | Your look tells a story of its own: your origins, your background and the will to express your roots. Can you tell us more about that?

I was born and raised in Nepal, and came to NY in 2012. I would say a lot of my sensibility, in terms of my style and my general aesthetic, is heavily rooted in Nepal, but I feel like my identity is a mix of me now being in NY and my own history. I feel like it s all coming together very beautifully, in the sense that I can draw inspiration from everywhere.

2 | You attended the Cooper Union School of Art in NY, focusing primarily on painting and sculpture. How did jewelry become your passion and eventually your line of work?

2 | You attended the Cooper Union School of Art in NY, focusing primarily on painting and sculpture. How did jewelry become your passion and eventually your line of work?

I studied painting and sculpture at Cooper Union for 4 years. At the time I was trying to adjust to the culture, while being at a school that is academically very demanding. I felt I was losing a sense of why I moved here in the first place.

I needed something to rescue me, but also something that was fun and could remind me of why I do what I do. Making jewelry became that for me; it made me feel alive again.

3 | Your style seems to be instinctive. How did you develop your technique?

3 | Your style seems to be instinctive. How did you develop your technique?

My style is something that I get questioned about a lot. I would say that it’s a combination of things that interests me as a person, be it music, art, or travel, and I feel that a lot of these different avenues in my life come together in the way that I dress. I’m not really concerned about trends, as I feel that by following trends I will lose a sense of myself. The same idea influences my jewelry. I always think about originality, something that drives my work because, despite the fact that I'm surrounded by so many things, I don’t think it’s impossible to create something that still looks very unique and can stand out.

4 | Ethnic and pop cultures, Rock’n’Roll, and death are the main themes behind all of your collections. Why is that?

I have many, many inspirations. I love cultures around the world, be it ethnic or pop culture. And I really love music. I was actually studying music before I moved to NY. Rock’n’Roll is still one of my biggest inspirations. When I was growing up, I listened to a lot of R’n’R and Metal music, and actually wanted to be a guitarist in a band. The idea of not conforming and counter-culture was very prominent when I was growing up. These varied things in my life make me a fuller person, and also make me work better. As for death, I am pretty aware of my own mortality. I think it’s really important, as it’s the one thing that connects us all, irrespective of our differences. These are some of the pillars have always informed my sensibility in one form or the other.

5 | Do you consider yourself a design enthusiast? What is your favorite design item?

I do love good aesthetics. I really like a lot of colors. It’s actually a running theme in my life. I like furniture with a lot of colors and very geometric shapes, somewhere in between an art project and functionality. I also love furniture from around the world, from different places. When you travel, you see so many different beautiful objects. It’s really about what catches my eye…

6 | Your jewelry is not only about aesthetic accessories; they have a deeper meaning. Can you tell us about it?

6 | Your jewelry is not only about aesthetic accessories; they have a deeper meaning. Can you tell us about it?

Often, when people talk about my jewelry they really think about it in terms of ornamentation, and yes that is one of the main functions of the pieces that I make, but it’s not just about design, it’s not just something exhibited in a glass box with a price tag on it.

Jewelry has much more deeper meaning, and around the world and throughout time we know that such meaning changes and shifts, and I think it’s very telling of human life and human history, very telling about migration, very telling of where we are now, the materials we use. I try to use materials that maybe are “unjewelry” like.

8 | Do you think your jewelry suits everyone? Have you ever felt pain in selling a piece to someone you didn’t like the vibe of?

I do think my jewels suit everyone, despite the fact that they look very specific. As much as it is inspired by culture, my work is not about holding on to one particular culture, its not about identity as much as it’s about saying “This is what I am; this is what I do”, and I really want to welcome the entire world into it.
When I sold my first ever piece, I was so happy, but sending it away was very difficult, because I knew it was unique, as I don’t replicate any of my pieces. Attachment to my work is something that I need to learn to let go of.

9 | Can you give us a name of someone who embodies your style?

9 | Can you give us a name of someone who embodies your style?

Maybe I'm just being very hopeful, but Björk is somebody that I think embodies my style. Or maybe I want her to be the one! She is one of my biggest inspirations, one of my favorite artists. I just love pretty much everything that I know about her. That sense of uniqueness that she embodies is something that I am absolutely inspired by. I’m also very drawn to the 70s style. Think Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards. I love those Rock’n’Roll men on stage.

10 | How do you perceive New York? What is like to live here and what is your relationship with this city?

Living in NY can very difficult or it can be easy, depending how resourceful you are. It really challenges you as a person; so, in that sense, you need to be creative and have a pretty strong exterior to be here, you need to be able to withstand a lot. NY tells you whether you belong here or not quite quickly, even when you’re just visiting. Nonetheless, for me living in New York is a blessing. I am already living one of my dreams because when I was growing up in Kathmandu I was always looking out, thinking, “One day I'm going to be living in a city where the entire world lives“. And now I’m living in one of the most culturally rich places in the world, American in most ways, but yet very international. A city which, in someway, has made me a better and fuller person. The only thing I wish is that it wasn’t as expensive as it is.

11 | NYC offers an overwhelming amount of detail and inspiration. How do you seize them? Are there any spots in the city you visit to find new ideas?

As an artist, and for somebody like me, New York is perfect because I can always find inspiration everywhere. It has so many things going on all the time, and sometimes I'm a little overwhelmed, and I’m like “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll just stay home!” In terms of spaces that really inspire me, I love the galleries in Chelsea. East Village is also one of my favorite neighborhoods, as well as Lower East Side. I guess I’m biased because of their music history, R&R and Punk culture. I recently realized Punk was born in NY and not England. I’m still learning so much about NY I guess…

12 | You worked with a lot of big names, from Victoria’s Secret to Lufthansa. What’s next?

12 | You worked with a lot of big names, from Victoria’s Secret to Lufthansa. What’s next?

Working with Victoria’s Secret and Lufthansa were both incredible experiences, very educational in many ways, about myself and about working and collaborating with other people. I don’t really know what’s next for me. I’ve got my hands full right now. I enrolled in acting school last year, one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and probably the one thing I’ve spent money on that I’m truly happy about.

13 | Do you have any secret passions or hobbies?

I have lots, besides music of course. One is table tennis, but I’m also very passionate about martial arts. I watched lots of films on IP Man, Bruce Lee’s teacher, and the art Wing Chun, which is what Bruce Lee did. I love Wing Chun and Ping Pong, which I guess is making me sound very Asian right now

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