Luke Maninov Hammond: Meet the Maker
Luke Maninov Hammond is a fascinating artist. Primarily a neuroscience imaging specialist, he straddles the worlds of science and jewellery making to craft intricate designs that merge his two passions.
We were recently treated to a rare visit from Luke in our Melbourne gallery (he's now based in New York), so we took the opportunity to sit down and delve deeper into his making process, and learn about his latest creative challenges and successes.
Tell us how you found your way into jewellery-making / design?
"I came across sculpting with wax while experimenting with different mediums, and something just clicked. Being able to work in a 3D space; to add and subtract freely while creating fine details and textures make it both a fantastic and forgiving material to explore ideas, and ultimately transform them into jewellery.
I recently came to realise that I have aphantasia, which essentially means my “mind’s eye” is blank. I have an awareness of the shape and colour, and can explore designs deeply, but I don’t visually see them, like seeing without seeing. I had just assumed that’s how everyone’s mind’s eye worked! It’s unusual, but curiously, several renowned artists also experience the world this way, suggesting that creativity in people with aphantasia may work in unique ways. It may explain why working with wax, along with sketching, has been so useful in my practice. It’s fascinating how varied our experience of reality can be, in ways we don’t even realise."
What are your favourite materials to work with, and why?
"I love working in gold and, when possible, combining alloys to create contrast. For gemstones, I always have my eye out for unique qualities - a special pattern of inclusions in a salt and pepper diamond; the shifting colours of Australian parti sapphires; uncut or special cuts of gems. I believe jewellery should be as unique as the person who wears it, and gemstones can play an important part in this."
How has moving to New York affected your practice?
"Re-establishing my jewellery practice in New York City was certainly not without its challenges, but it has led to many opportunities to grow creatively. From learning stone setting techniques from the legendary Blaine Lewis and building on my jewellery fabrication skills, to learning gouache rendering at New York Jewellery Design Institute and illustration at the Art Students League, where some of the artists that have inspired me also studied. It’s also allowed me to progress toward becoming a Graduate Gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)."
Are you keen to learn more about how Luke's work in neuroscience inspires his creations? Read this Journal post to see the images he creates of our brain activity, which serve to remind us of the ephemeral beauty hidden within.