In the spring of 2019, HCCC intern Kelly Dolan interviewed former resident artist, Ean Escoto. As a jeweler and metalsmith, Escoto presents a new style of craft that takes the concept of jewelry into the contemporary aesthetic. Escoto, by incorporating roboticics into his designs, makes exceptional work that conveys a sense of meaning and whimsy to his audiences.
Kelly Dolan: You initially went to school to study bioengineering; however, you graduated with a degree in applied design for jewelry, metalsmithing, and ceramics. How has bioengineering influenced the combination of electronics and jewelry in your work, and what other influences inform your work?
Ean Escoto: I would argue that art and science are born of craft; art and science were predated by craft as disciplines while present within craft as practices. Bioengineering and craft, particularly art jewelry, both satisfy my core interests, providing people with something meaningful. Bioengineering generally seeks to enhance people’s quality of life by supporting their physical needs. Craft tends to focus on the impact of objects of daily use on people’s lives. For me, they both start with the body.
Jewelry objects are literally attached to the body as items of use or metaphorically attached as items of consideration. Most often, they serve as prostheses of identity, evoking meaning for the wearer and the viewer. I find this platform for expression really great for the types of engagement I would like to have with others.
Science and engineering have greatly informed my approach to living with appreciation and curiosity. Science is a formalization of the fact that the natural world will answer any question you ask it. The challenge of science is in the difficulty of understanding what you actually want to ask, learning how to phrase it, and interpreting the answer you receive. The glory of science is that the answers we receive spawn even better questions. It really seems like the universe will never run out of wonder. Engineering provides a powerful set of problem-solving tools. The basic idea is to break a problem into smaller parts that you either understand or don’t understand. You solve the parts you understand, quantify what you don’t understand, and use that information to find or create resources which will allow the problem to be solved.
When I make jewelry, I apply the tools I have to solve the problems I am interested in. The initial motivation behind introducing electronics to my practice was to make objects activate people’s theory of mind. I wanted people to consider what the object is thinking. This ability to consider the thoughts of another is worth celebrating. Leveraging this experience is a powerful tool for getting people to engage in the other types of experiences I am trying to promote. Continue Reading »