Swiss/Australian Sofia Fitzpatrick is an artist and jewellery designer world renowned for her small skull motifs, and other designs. She’s had numerous group exhibitions and has a solo show coming up soon. Sofia talked to Rodney Henton about her work.
Sofia was surrounded by art and music growing up, so learning different mediums and techniques “is all connected for me.”
“It was natural to move between areas,” she says.
“I really got attracted to the idea of people wearing your art, and I loved sculpting but I could never afford to sculpt in a major way so I learned to sculpt in a tiny form (laughs) and people can wear it!”
Her technique is called lost wax casting, basically the hard type that you carve and whittle with a knife. There is also the Soft Type which is malleable with your fingers.
The jewellery, hand made for both men and women, is rough and raw and imperfect and yet strangely beautiful solid silver and the opposite of mass produced work. After several years working and travelling abroad Sofia resettled in Sydney at the age of 20 knowing very few people but two years later met rock n’roll legend Ian Rilen, and they married three months later.
“I’d experienced some tragedies and stuff around and close to me and I know I was pretty intense and trying to find myself really and we just clicked. He was a special guy, sometimes we’d sit and draw together,” she says. “I couldn’t play an instrument but we wrote a few songs together, he was really creative but that was a lifetime ago! (laughs).” Two of these songs were recorded Rilen’s album “Love is Murder” and one was played at Rilen’s funeral.
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I spent the day today installing the window display of my jewellery, sculptures and paintings at @jewels_on_queen Unfortunately due to everything that’s going on at the moment the shop will be closed and will not have an opening exhibition! But instead we will do a talk on line about my jewellery and art, and all the jewellery will be available to buy on line so I’ll keep you all posted! Please walk past the window and have a look in! If you like anything on display contact @jewels_on_queen or have a look at the jewels on queen website! A big thank you to @nellyvision for giving me this wonderful opportunity! I am so very grateful! Also a huge thank you to @zoe.mahony for introducing me and also helping me bring all my work to the shop today! @skullsbysofiafitzpatrick @jewels_on_queen #skuls #skulljewellery #bespoke @bespokejewellery #handmade #silver #brass #gold #woollahra ##windowdisplay #artist #sydney #sydneyart #skullsbysofiafitzpatrick #silverjewellery #jewelsonqueen
Fitzpatrick is involved in many projects and collaborations with other artists, such as a new line of hand painted boots yet the skull motifs loom large.
“It’s part of our existence, skulls have been used in art throughout the ages and will continue to capture our imaginations, it’s a truly beautiful object to me. I know it once contained a unique and individual experience within it,” she says.
“It represents both creation and destruction, it’s not the heart but the skull that is the true vessel of the soul and to me they have a positive meditative influence”.
“Western culture has often viewed skull imagery as threatening and menacing, so of course the image has been conversely used by some as an expression of rebellion and freedom from conservative thinking.”
Fitzpatrick is a believer in sharing knowledge and skills and showing others the techniques if they wish to learn.
“I’m not really good with words. I can’t really express myself other than with my work and if it resonates with others I’m really happy but if it doesn’t that’s ok too,” she says.
Sofia’s emphatically in love with and open to all the arts as she grew up surrounded by them. She still is, but today the art is of her own making.
Sofia Fitzpatrick has some drawings in an upcoming group show called “KRVNW- Wild Hearts” at King Street Gallery from March 20.
Another very different show exhibiting her jewellery begins on March 25 at “Jewels on Queen”, 40 Queen Street Woollahra. The exhibition is called “La Petite Mort – Jewels to Die For.”
STOP PRESS: Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, Sofia’s exhibitions will be cancelled or postponed. If you are able to, please continue to support Sofia’s incredible work by purchasing her bespoke silver jewellery online.