Velvit Welcomes 1-100
Miguel Villalobos and Graham Tabor, co-conspirators of the jewelry line 1-100, discuss their extensive work in the art world (and we mean extensive), their process of research and experimentation, and why they love working with their hands
Velvit met with 1-100's New York based artists, Miguel and Graham to hear more about their exhibitions, their inspirations, and why jewelry is so integral, intimate, and important.
Velvit: How did you two meet?
Miguel Villalobos and Graham Tabor, 1-100: We met at a (now defunct) bar called Passerby attached to the Gavin Brown Gallery.
V: How did you start working together?
1-100: Since 2006, we have created fashion editorials together for a variety of magazines, mostly based in Europe. Since 2010, we have exhibited our work in galleries throughout Europe, Asia, and the US. We are currently represented by Cristina Grajales Gallery in New York under the name Tabor - Villalobos.
V: In addition to forming a collaboration for 1-100 and Tabor - Villalobos, can you tell us more about your individual work and your experience in other artistic fields?
Miguel Villalobos: I am an illustrator and a photographer. I worked as an illustrator in both Venezuela and New York, and I have been shooting portraits in New York since the late 90s. My photographs have appeared in numerous international publications such as Purple, Vogue Hommes International, Le Monde, and V magazine. I worked as a visual consultant and documentary photographer for the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I was also the Art Director for Laurie Anderson's video "Life on a String." I am the creator of The Diane Award for the ASVOFF film festival, which takes place at Centre Pompidou, Paris every year. And I was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create custom illustrations used on all special merchandising for the Schparelli & Parada and Punk exhibitions.
Graham Tabor: I have worked extensively in the fashion industry as a designer and consultant for close to 15 years. In 2007, I founded my own consulting studio. In 2009, I co-designed and launched the Blouson Noir capsule collection with Melanie Ward. In collaboration with Ward, I worked on creative direction for the TSE 20th Anniversary Collection. From 2006-2010, I served as Fashion Director for FLY DVD Magazine, a biannual film-format art and fashion exhibit held at the MOMA, the Deutsche Guggenheim, and many others. I was one of ten short-listed designers at the 2008 Festival International De Mode d'Hyeres. I was a Creative Consultant for Alexander Wang. And I just started a new consulting contract to launch a new brand.
V: What kinds of showings and exhibitions have you had so far?
1-100: In 2010, we were invited by acclaimed fashion critic Diane Pernet to present a selection of our single commission jewelry collection under the name 1-100 Piece Unique at the 2010 SCOPE Art Fair in New York. That same year, our first solo show of sculptures and drawings, "Hic et Nunc," was exhibited at Brachfeld Gallery in Paris. In 2011, the "Hic et Nunc" exhibit was shown alongside our photographic work at Portal+ Gallery in Australia, HAPPA Space in Tokyo, Joyce Gallery in Beijing, and L'Eclaireur in Paris. Our first monograph, also titled Hic et Nunc, was a photographic diary circling the organic relationship between our urban realities and the natural spaces sketched around them. It was published in 2012 by Australian gallery owner Liza Blakiston. Our work was first shown in the US in 2013, as featured artists at Cristina Grajales Gallery in New York. We have also shown both together and individually at Maison Martin Margiela, Ter et Bantine Space, the NOHO Design District, and at group exhibitions in Berlin, Santiago de Compostela, Zurich, Vienna, and Trieste.
V: What were the initial stages like when creating 1-100?
1-100: Starting 1-100 was a process of exploration and discovery. We learned as we went along. Every time we learned a new jewelry technique, we would add it to the collection.
V: Where did you come up with the name 1-100?
1-100: Originally, every design was made in an edition of 100 [units]. We numbered every design that came out of our studio and atelier so that each piece was one of a series of one hundred. Now the edition numbers vary. Sometimes we only make five of the same piece, sometimes a design is a one-of-a-kind commission piece.
V: What are some of your artistic influences?
1-100: Minimalist sculptures of the 60s and 70s. The Earthworks artists. Collections at smaller museums like Dia Beacon. The creative dialogue we have with each other and with our creative communities in New York and throughout Europe. One of our biggest influences is the material we work with. We spend a lot of time thinking about material authenticity and asking ourselves questions about the appropriate form for each material. The process educates us a lot: how a material feels in our hands and what kind of tools it asks for.
V: Are there any specific places that inspire you?
1-100: The streets of New York. We're very engaged with the artistic community in New York. We live a block away from the gallery district in Chelsea. We spend a lot of time at galleries and museums. The research libraries at the MET and MOMA are some of our favorite places to spend time.
V: When creating a new collection, what is your design process like?
1-100: It's always a process of research and experimentation: spending time at the library and playing with new techniques and shapes at the jewelry bench. It's a constant funneling down of all the ideas that excite us until we reduce it to the essential essence of what we want to explore and express.
V: How has your work been received?
1-100: Very well. In the US, we currently sell to stores in New York like Barney's on Madison Avenue and IF Soho, and stores in California like A'maree's in Newport Beach and H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles. We also sell to exclusive retailers internationally like Joyce in Hong Kong and 10 Corso Como in Seoul. Our work has been in magazines around the world, from Vogue Italia, Paris Vogue, Chinese Vogue, and Korean Vogue, to W magazine, Interview magazine, i-D, Encense, Harper's Bazaar Australia, and a variety of others.
V: What are some of your 1-100 highlights?
1-100: Our first opening at Cristina Grajales Gallery. It was so packed, we couldn't move from one corner the whole night. Another great moment was when ASAP Rocky wore our rings on the cover of Interview magazine. And the time friends of ours used 1-100 rings as their wedding bands; it was a really beautiful experience.
V: What are some of your favorite mediums or techniques to work with?
1-100: Anything where we can touch the material with our hands. The reason we started making jewelry is that you can actually touch every piece with your own hands. It's very personal and intimate. This interaction is what we love most.
V: Does music influence your art at all?
1-100: Miguel started photographing as a way to interact with the musicians he liked. We're always listening to music while we work in the studio; it helps us get through the late nights.
V: What role do you think jewelry plays in personal expression and everyday life?
1-100: The social role of jewelry is very important to us. Jewelry is a modern talisman. It resonates with the tribal aspects of our contemporary culture. In this way, jewelry becomes very personal and intimate. We don't buy jewelry and stop wearing it after 6 months. It is integrated into our daily ritual. We put on a ring every day the same way we brush our hair or apply our makeup. There are many people who wear the same pieces of jewelry every day, while few people wear the same pair of pants or the same jacket every day.
V: What advice would you give an aspiring jewelry designer?
1-100: Hone your craft and your universe.
For more information on Miguel Villalobos, Graham Tabor, and 1-100, visit our Artist profiles and shop our Velvit boutique.