Voice of Craftspeople: Seiki Kotenra, Jewelry Artist

Voice of Craftspeople: Seiki Kotenra, Jewelry Artist

This November, HULS GALLERY SINGAPORE held a mini exhibition at our Millenia Walk store for Seiki Kotenra, a jewelry artist and the creative mind behind the KOTENRA brand. In 2012, Seiki Kotenra started his career by founding the KOTENRA brand. He has a keen eye for combining dyeing and painting experiences, turning blends of color and creativity into works of wearable art. 

Interviewer: Understand that you majored in western painting during your university and also did an art foundation course for one year in England. What made you decide to express your artistic talent through jewelry? 

Following my university graduation, I encountered difficulties in finding a gallery to exhibit my artwork. I sensed a limited opportunity for a young and inexperienced artist like myself to hold an exhibition at that time. After I graduated from Seian University of Art and Design, I engaged in various occupations, including working as a kimono craftsman, a hotel front desk receptionist, and in a Japanese restaurant. Eventually, I crossed paths with an artist in Kyoto, who would later become my wife. I was captivated by her unique creations of art & fashion. This unexpected encounter with such a fascinating artist sparked the realization that there might be alternative avenues to showcase my artistic endeavors.

Interviewer: Where do you get your inspiration from? 

KOTENRA's collections draw inspiration from Nature and Art, encompassing themes like Flower, Water, Butterfly, Snow, Element, and Art Stone.

Interviewer: How do you approach the balance between artistic expression and the functionality of your jewelry for everyday wear? 

I value the feedback from customers, while also placing a high importance on the originality of my work. This commitment to originality has consistently impressed customers and serves as a driving force for me to sustain creativity.

Interviewer: Could you please share with us how long you typically spend to craft a piece of jewelry?

It generally takes a few weeks, but if the process involves ideation, the timeframe extends to a few months.

Interviewer: Are there any particular techniques or styles that you enjoy experimenting with in your jewelry-making process?

I particularly enjoy incorporating my painting skills into each piece; the meticulous painting process is something I take great pleasure in. To me, painting is an act of trying to capture the beauty that resides in nature and the interplay of light and shadow that I sense in the passage of time.

Interviewer: Could you elaborate on the theme "Time and Memory" for KOTENRA?

Centered around the theme of "time and memory," we explore the beauty of nature's creations, from inorganic to organic objects. we translate the abstract expressions and color sensibilities through paintings and into jewelry. In doing so, we convey the essence of "Listen closely" – the subtle joys found in paying attention within the intricate world of jewelry.

Interviewer: Are there certain emotions or messages that you aim to convey through your works?

"Listen closely" is the hidden message in all my works. This is exemplified, for instance, by the beauty of flowers blossoming in our garden—a reminder to pay attention in our daily lives and discover something captivating in the small things.