STEEL: art design architecture




Born 1972, Sydney, New South Wales

Lives Sydney, New South Wales

Any misconceptions of steel’s static, fixed nature are exploded by the work of Sean O’Connell. He creates striking images and stunning examples of kinetic jewellery that express the possibilities of how steel can respond to the triggers created in his Bundeena studio, surrounded by the heathlands of the Royal National Park south of Sydney.

O’Connell studied Gold and Silversmithing at the Australian National University and recently completed his PhD at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Noting inspirations as diverse as Andrei Tarkovsky, Amon Tobin and Dr Seuss, O’Connell says his work is an abstraction of the forces that are present in his life and self. This work employs stainless steel, tantalum, gold, bearing balls and engineering bits and pieces crafted by a metal lathe, a TIG welder, a 3-phase metal linisher and a hammer, resulting in elegantly simple renderings of form and movement.

Forces, 2016, explores the energetic qualities of steel. Five different steel samples are imaged directly over negative film, saturated with high voltage electricity, tuned in frequency and intensity, to reveal their individual energetic signatures.

Sean O’Connell’s jewellery pieces are moving amulets that promote the smooth and natural flow of daily life. They help protect their wearer from the daily frictions, blockages, and traffic jams of everyday emotional and energetic life. Crafted by hand and manual tools wherever possible, these small machines of singular purpose are loaded with intensity, through the effort and time required to make them. As they roll or slide along finger, wrist, or neck, they remind the wearer that life can be seen to move smoothly and beautifully, even during the  most challenging of times.