Written by: Jo Ann L.B. Duggins All Photos Provided by: Allison Hourcade
Full Name: Allison Hourcade Age: 23 Currently Residing: NYC Currently Listening to: Diablo Swing Orchestra
I'm a period piece junkie for all those who don't know. I love the decadence and the opulence of periods past, that, in my opinion, do not exist anymore. Recently, I've been obsessed with the lavishness of Dances of Vice and in that obsession found a little jewel by the name of Allison Hourcade. Even her name has the sands of time within it.
Allison creates sumptuous jewelry for her line RockLove and it centers around her love for the past, music, and varied sub-cultured lifestyles. RockLove incorporates a sense of freedom and alternativeness, but does not lack in craftsmanship. I'm honored to have this heroine of trinkets showcased. Your relationship with your art seems to be something that is an age old romance.... how long have you been romancing your art and what gave you the concept for RockLove?
RockLove is romancing me – it seduces me away from the concept of a 9 to 5 job, corrupts me in dark corners from a 401K and whispers in my ear about my lack of health insurance. I tease . Yes, creating RockLove has been a work of passion and obsession. I've always been an artist, but struggled with my inability to create abstract works. I'm very rooted in function and purpose, the death kiss for a creative type. Jewelry has always been a hobby of mine, and soon making the alternative, edgy, rock-inspired pieces that I wished I could buy on the market turned into my career calling and arty outlet.
Your jewelry is primarily silver...is this the only medium you work with and why is this a favored metal for your collections?
I'm actually very allergic to base metals like brass, copper, bronze, nickel...I look like a leper after wearing lower-end jewelry for 5 minutes. The weight and smooth earthen quality of silver has always appealed to me, and combining it with my Quasimodo syndrome, it seemed natural to work in only high-end hand cast sterling silver (and gold when commissioned).
Where do you get inspiration for a piece?
A piece is usually inspired by the music I listen to; if I'm rockin' out to psychobilly, chances are something pin-up will emerge. It seems to materialize in the final jewelry – billy music for the Pin Up Vixen Collection, some old school rock and metal for the Emblems, Victorian-industrial for Victorian Glam, etc.
Other times it's designed specifically for an artist, band, organization, or movie.
Music is a definite influence in your collections and you have recently had the honor to do a piece for the upcoming film "REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA," how did this come about and why did you choose this particular design?
Working with the creators of Repo! was an honor and a privilege which actually fell from the sky into my lap unexpectedly. The merch jewelry is a sterling silver double edged scalpel necklace – a mini version of what the main villain, the Repo-Man, uses in the movie to violently repossess the organs of non-paying transplant customers.
If you could design a piece for anyone in any time period whom would you choose?
This is a tough question – like my jewelry, my decisions are often influenced by what I'm doing, music I'm listening to, mood I'm in. Today I'm going to a Halloween party dressed in a weird conglomeration of a steampunk and fetish, so I'd have to say Mad Max. But yesterday I was in period clothing, so then I'd say Queen Victoria. Maybe Betty Page? I feel like I have split personalities.
Being fond of the vintage, what is your favorite era?
That's like being asked which I prefer, dark chocolate or milk chocolate. I love the sleek classy look of the late 40's early 50's, be it sultry noir or flirtatious innocence. But I'm also cheating on the pin-up era with the turn-of-the-century… nothing can make me sigh more than a really sexy pair of lace up granny boots and a black mourning choker.
How many pieces are usually in a collection? How long does it take you to do a piece?
Right now RockLove is very freeform. I make pieces as I'm inspired rather than pump out work I think my customers would buy. Each collection is always growing (maybe starting with about a half dozen originals), adding a new group sporadically depending on the need and how much time I have to make new work. Carving and casting the prototype is a very long and expensive process so unfortunately I can't produce as quickly as I would like.
You have been recognized as a part of the "Steampunk" genre.... what type of pieces have you created to represent this?
It's interesting that Steampunk is now becoming so widely recognized; I've been into it for years but mainly enjoyed the influences in film and literature rather than dressing the part. I couldn't, essentially, because I'm very allergic to base metals like copper and brass, two of the most pivotal materials in steampunk accessories. Because I work in sterling silver (and occasionally gold) RockLove ends up being a sort of Luxe line in the steamy scene, inspired by the same themes the genre embodies. Victorian fashion, keys, clocks parts, you can see that imagery in much of my work.
What's your favorite collection to date and which one was the most challenging to create?
I will always have a special place in my heart for the Pin Up Vixen Collection. It was the first time in my life I really delved into my love for 1950's rockabilly and pin up aesthetics. Embraced by the scene, mainly west coast, I had the privilege of befriending many of the top musicians, models, photographers, and hot-rod hounds, allowing me to submerse myself in a culture I've always loved, but could not really experience to its fullest in NYC. On a daily basis I'm dressed like I've walked out of the end credits of the musical "Grease."
What are you working on now and what can we expect to see from RockLove in the near future?
Well after Repo!, I have a few new collections to release, including some huge couture goth-rock rings which I've very excited about. I allso have collaborations with some of my favorite photographers, models, and clothing designers in the scenes…it seems as though I've popped onto everyone's radar and I'm THRILLED they look at me as someone with whom they want to work. RockLove, the name, is based on the concept of mutual respect and inspiration between artists, so for me this is a dream come true!
Favorite weapon and why?
Back to that split personality again… it would have to be either a switchblade, or maybe a small pistol. And it's because either would fit inconspicuously into a garter belt *wink*.
Please feel free to do some holiday shopping by visiting Allison's Website or you can tell her how much her jewelry rocks by adding her on MySpace.
Repo! The Genetic Opera opens November 7, 2008. Here's a preview: