In an interview with HYPEBAE, New York-based fine jewelry designer Will Shott discusses his career and working with well-known music artists.
When asked how being a concert promoter in Houston landed him a career in jewelry design, Shott said, "Being from Houston, Texas where the country meets the suburbs, there wasn’t much access to an art scene. I was still figuring out what I wanted to do for a [career] and how I could be an artist when I was studying painting and sculpture at Glassell School of Art. Being in Houston, I didn’t have access to galleries or art curators and I needed connection to real artists, and I got that connection from music. I ended up at a hip-hop show and saw banners for ScoreMore, an independent music promotion company owned by Sascha Stone Guttfreund. Being able to work for him, I was introduced to a string of artists of our generation when Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Big Sean and A$AP Rocky all started, and that’s how I started to affiliate with these main musicians.
"Houston has one of the biggest hip-hop jewelry cultures in the world, and I saw how jewelers like Johnny Dang or rappers at the time would drop on grillz, chains and watches. It opened my eyes to a creative industry. With jewelry, I saw a lot of opportunity there and instead of being a commission-based jeweler, I wanted to create my own line as a way to get my ideas and designs out there."
When asked which piece he made first and how it was an influence on the formation of his label, Shott said, "The first piece I made was for Kendrick Lamar, because Claire Bogle believed in me so much. But when I decided to really pursue jewelry, I became a member at the Houston Gem and Mineral Society which was my dad’s recommendation. A lot of these members are gemologists and very knowledgeable and into collecting agates, and that’s how I got interested in carving stone. I was into the idea of creating a Black Jesus Piece because I felt like it was underrepresented within jewelry and the hip-hop community. There have been hundreds of brands that make silver and gold Jesus Pieces, and at that time not one brand had made a Black Jesus Piece. I carved each Jesus face by hand and used Australian black jade to make the piece more contemporary by contrasting stark colors. A lot of stones will crack if you hit them on something, but jade is really strong and fun to carve. It’s gorgeous because the blacks are the blackest, the greens are fresh — and I also think jade is underused."
Information originally sourced from HYPEBAE.