MODERN LIFE Q&A - Corrina Goutos

We asked the designers in our MODERN LIFE exhibition what the concept means to them...

New York artist Corrina Goutos creates her "souvenirs for the selfie generation" from recycled metals in her foundry in rural Germany. We meet the maker of especially sustainable jeweller who is not only inspired by, but creates her work almost entirely from the waste of the 21st Century...



Where did you learn the most?

Aluminium Can pendant,  Corrina Goutos uses recycled materials

Aluminium Can pendant, Corrina Goutos uses recycled materials

I learn most by observation - roaming the city with open ears and eyes, listening to the stories it has to tell.  When I travel to a new place I walk the streets all day observing, drawing new connections, and getting really excited about juxtapositions of estranged objects that compose themselves in the trash or on the curb.  These spontaneous, humorous, telling collaborations of strangers- just waiting for my discovery.

What are your New Year’s Revolutions?

Manage my closest relationships better…as they always seem to be spanning further and further across the globe.  I also plan to continue to relinquish control in my studio practice- allowing for more spontaneity in my work and more wellbeing for me.  It seems even artwork can benefit from a little work-life-balance. On that note, a stack of books awaits me in 2018; I will be trying my best to tear through them.  Last but not least, the little collaboration I have in the works I hope to invest more time and energy in, hopefully getting works to completion in the months to come.

What music do you listen to whilst working?

Over-the-top funky disco.  I imagine myself in hot pants and roller blades lounging at my poolside ranch.  The 70’s always bring a smile to my face.  I think it’s my own discovered remedy for the grey skies and constant drizzle that is Hamburg weather.   House music, and the perfect fusion of the two- break beat UK funky house, and hip-hop is playing just as often in my studio; seems to do the trick just as well.


Corrina, bringing the poolside to her rural workshop with her joyful recycled objects

Corrina, bringing the poolside to her rural workshop with her joyful recycled objects

How does your environment inspire you?


I’ve recently learned, my environment influences my practice immensely; as my work has such a strong urban inspiration- I was frankly nervous to move to my boyfriends countryside farmhouse outside of Hamburg. But it ended up being the best move I ever made for my studio practice.  Without the limitations of ‘appropriate times to be loud’, nor the searching of space for crazy experiments, I was able to explore my wildest ideas- the moment they popped into my head.  Now sharing a studio with an auto mechanic has also provided a very curious input to my practice, as well as afforded a massive expansion to my metalworking tool assortment.  Although my work still remains strongly urban focused, my close proximity to Hamburg allows for weekly ‘inspiration tanking’, and I find my more conscientious way of living much more in-line with my studio practice.  Of course I also have far fewer distractions, which allows me to digest my ideas more thoroughly; in strong contrast to the sensory overload city life provides an artist of my nature.



How do the materials that you choose tell your story?

They are the essence of my concept.  They are the luxuries of yesterday- aluminium car rims, bronze chandeliers and old, unwanted silver jewelry; once a loved trend, now forgotten.  They tell the stories of the many individuals they have came into contact with; objects that embody the spirit of their user, providing a brief snapshot into the life of a modern consumer.  They are littered cans I’ve collected on the streets; well-earned beers enjoyed outside my studio by farmers, auto mechanics and studio mates.  And heaps of interesting found objects, missing their better half- left behind in the hustle of modern life.  


My materials, and the hunting of them, stop time, freeze it in the way a souvenir would for a favourite holiday.  My material innovation is the caricature of sorts, of the user and their goods.  Embodying the mood and action of the act.




Are there any other materials that you would like to use?

Always!  I have been experimenting with types of paper-maché, which I love for the texture range. Where defined forms from paper casting and the raw, clumpy, peaked landscape of the un-manipulated paper pulp can co-exist in one piece.  Its fun thinking more loosely in making contemporary jewellery- being able to play with varied multiples, mass, and permanence without the weight problem. Not only would it also make works accessible to every budget, it would be 100% recycled- always my top creative ambitions.


Corrina's recycling experiments

Corrina's recycling experiments

Bronze Object,  Corrina Goutos

Bronze Object, Corrina Goutos

Iris Eichenberg,"Rhizome" one of Corrina's favourite artists

Iris Eichenberg,"Rhizome" one of Corrina's favourite artists

Who is your biggest influence and inspiration?

I look at more art of non-art jewellers, in order to have a broader range of influence and of course to keep from subconsciously adopting aesthetic elements.  However I am very lucky to have come into contact with Art Jewelry legend Iris Eichenberg, and we remain in frequent contact today.  Her work and her philosophy on making and living have been hugely influential for my studio practice and me.  She is a wild, fun-loving pioneer in art jewelry, and yet delights immensely in paving the way for the next generation of makers. Damian Hurst is a contemporary artist who I felt crushed to discover in the beginning of my career, silly enough, because I was pretty sure I was well on my way to producing those works myself.  But my jealousy quickly transformed to massive respect, and I love following his work; as well as the art of Diana Al-Hadid, Nick Cave, Li Lihong and Thomas Mailaender.


What is the best thing about Modern Life?

Diversity and cultural exchange; multi-culti clashes painting cities world-wide a range of vibrant shades they’ve never seen the likes of.  Not just people but the heritage, crafts, innovations and lifestyles they bring with them.  There is literally nothing you can’t take a course for in London, or no obscure illness you could be diagnosed with, that you couldn’t find a local support group for.  The information era has given us endless possibilities, and I think these are resources helping people to thrive. Now more then ever, we all have the freedom to craft a lifestyle that suits us best.  From remote working on the beach in Thailand, to meditation on your office lunch break, to nourishment solely from dumpster diving: societal norms have been hacked away at, and I think that’s something really exciting that we all can benefit from on our own personal journeys to finding happiness and balance.  

CorrinaGoutos_SilverTwistBrooch_ Product.jpg

What is the worst thing about Modern Life?

Short-term thinking and as the Germans like to say: ‘Elbow Society’.  The term emerged in reaction to the falling of the wall and rise of capitalism and later neo-liberalism, when communities stopped working arm and arm and started nudging through the masses to secure their individual wills.  In modern life we are taught we all have the same opportunities to get to the top, and its up to us alone to take what we want in life, no matter the cost.  This way of thinking is the main culprit in my real biggest frustration with modern life- utter disregard for the state of the planet.  When everyone is just looking out for their own interests, so long as the planet is standing, it’s his or her problem.  Any environmentalist leading an consciences life, would be wildly discouraged seeing your good-deeds undone ten fold by the apathetic masses.

Modern Life is……?

One. Big. Hustle.

Corrina Goutos is a finalist in the AJF Art Jewellery Award 2018.

Don't miss this great opportunity to see her work here in the U.K 

*(Please note, Corrina's work will only be in the exhibition until 20th February and not the final week)




until 28th February*