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Every year for the last three decades – during the last weekend of April - Mission Federal ArtWalk has attracted artists from across the nation to showcase their art, be it visual or performing, occupying 17 blocks in San Diego’s Little Italy where visitors can appreciate all types of art from painting to sculptures to pottery and meet with the artists responsible for these beautiful creations.
According to the Mission Federal ArtWalk website, “approximately one half of the artists that apply to participate are selected.” Each applicant is considered carefully based on “creativity, technique, interesting use of materials, as well as a balance in the festival among the different mediums represented.”
Showcasing her art for the first time at the ArtWalk this year was jewelry designer Lucia Pasquinelli of LU.PA Italian Jewelry Design. A native of Rome, Pasquinelli moved to the United States 14 years ago and resides in Los Angeles, where she designs and handcrafts her original, one-of-a-kind jewelry using precious metals and stones.
“I just fell in love with the multicultural atmosphere of California,” says Pasquinelli. “The reason I moved to southern California is because [it was like] sitting in a theater in an armchair that would twist one degree at a time and, without moving or traveling, I would meet different cultures.”
The daughter of parents in the film and theater industries – her father was an art director; her mother a custom designer – Pasquinelli has always had art running through her veins and has pursued many different artistic mediums, be it sketching, drawing, painting or even playing musical instruments.
However, Pasquinelli says, even as a child she was always designing “[pieces] with wires and beads and banging on metals.” Her line of jewelry design didn’t begin until 13 years ago, though.
“I love to express myself,” Pasquinelli says. “When I create my jewelry, I don’t work with pen and paper or a computer; I work with my heart. My feelings flow through my veins into my hands and they shape the metals and caress the stones. Then – voilà! A new piece is born.”
Why jewelry? Pasquinelli explains: “First of all, jewelry represents a lot of my style. And the creation of something that is precious and fine yet simple that represents our Italian style...I try to minimalize my designs yet bring in a lot of, again, style and minute [details].”
Deeply proud of her Italian heritage, Pasquinelli consistently infuses her work with the rich cultural and historic nature of her origins. “I love being able to transmit my Italian culture [through my work],” she adds and indeed, every aspect of her work, down to her logo – a wolf –is a nod to her Roman background. (The wolf has been a symbol of Rome since its creation more than 2,000 years ago).
Pasquinelli is currently working on a new collection entitled “Romance and Gods” – a line of jewelry inspired by Roman mythology, which will include designs of Apollo, Juno, and Medusa. There is no set release date for the collection; Pasquinelli points out that the creative process of a piece of jewelry “could take 10 minutes or 10 years. I come from a school where I have things in my head and I see [my ideas]. I start using my hands and start using the materials I have in my hands to create and to think of results.
And that’s what actually makes me create interesting pieces because I have no limits, no boundaries.”
More information on Pasquinelli and her work – including a catalogue of her designs – can be found on her website: www.lupajewelry.com.