Robert Lopez, MCAS 2020 Featured Artist
Robert was born and raised in Southern California and resides in Yucaipa with his wife and two sons. Robert is a self-taught metalsmith. His hand crafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry is entirely made by himself in his studio in Yucaipa, California. He tries to design his pieces to stand out from everything else out there, as should you. This is something that he thinks today's mass-produced market is lacking. Robert feels that jewelry fabrication is his true calling and tries to make every piece he designs to be completely different from everything else he or anyone else has ever created.
Dabbling and experimenting with many types of art as a young man yet never feeling fulfilled, Robert stumbled upon wire wrapping stones. He wrapped stones for a couple of years while learning to cut his own stones at Yucaipa Valley Rock, Gem and Mineral Society. As his wrappings started to increase in their degree of difficulty and design he felt he was not being challenged enough. The obvious next step for him was to learn to metalsmith. He began slowly teaching himself to smith; accumulating his collection of tools and knowledge of the art anywhere he could. Not able to afford any formal training he read books, magazines and watched videos online. Robert learned the basics of smithing but feels the greatest aspect of his learning came from himself, as he endlessly experimented with the materials at hand. He feels that jewelry fabrication is his true calling due its degree of difficulty and enjoys the problem solving needed to come up with new designs. He was drawn to fabricating jewelry due to its difficult and physical nature. When you have to use tools like diamond wheels, hammers, anvils, or torches with intense heat, brute strength is often required to wield them; forcing the metals and stones to transform into what he envisions them to become. Once they have been transformed, the material’s ability to stand the test of time is noteworthy. “Knowing that If you were to bury a piece of jewelry made of metal and stone and you could dig it up centuries later and that object would remain with little to no damage is a gratifying thought”.
His raw and organic designs are fabricated with skill yet are free to grow without constraints or preconceived notions. His pieces are completely one-of-a-kind and made with his own hands; sometimes rolling his own sheet silver from ingots he pours, to cutting, sawing, filing, hammering, and grinding all of his metals and stones. This is something rare these days and he takes great pride in saying that.
Most of his pieces are designed with lots of texture, and layering; giving his pieces a very distinctive and distressed look. This is done for two reasons: one being the bold and distinctive look that it gives, and two it's much easier to take care of. The textures and layering will hide any minor scratches or damage done to the metals throughout the years.
Some of the materials Robert likes to use in his art are Argentium Sterling Silver (highly tarnish resistant silver), titanium, copper, gold, brass, bronze, various precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, wood, feathers, and other interesting materials that will complement his unique jewelry.
Robert's 2-day hands-on workshop is titled "Convergence". Registration begins here January 1, 2020. Space is limited.