My name is Victoria Tonu, I am a 29 years old artist based in Bucharest, Romania, and for the last four years I have been creating pieces for my jewelry brand Vika Tonu Design.
I have graduated from an Interdisciplinary Art and Design Course at Huddersfield University in the UK, and then continued my studies in resistant materials at Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School in Firenze, Italy.
Jewelry for me represents the most suggestive and personal form of expression, and it appeared in my life as the answer to my struggle as a growing artist: how is my work going to have any direct impact on other people?
Even though I did not enjoy creating jewelry at the beginning, my persuasion led me to the understanding of the process and this offered me a totally different perspective. My early education also had its influence upon this journey, as I was schooled in an alternative, spiritual and free way. Awareness towards nature, the four elements, the planets, and of course towards our inner cosmos has been an accent since I was a child, all this in a very creative and artistic environment. So by the time I really had to take a decision about my path, I realized I could associate the jewelry making to the myth of the alchemical dream which is also a metaphor to the personal evolution - transforming something rough and shapeless into something beautiful and precious, all through hard work and effort.
Basic shapes became associated with signs, elements, symbols, and the pieces started to gain sense if you really wanted to look for it. To sum it up, Vika Tonu Design jewelry pieces are all hand made, and imbued with personal energy, meaning and Soul. I hope that people can feel and understand the difference between a mass product jewelry and one created with a different, more compelling purpose, a jewelry to be worn for a much longer time.
What is the most important consideration when designing a new collection?
I do not enjoy the pressure of creating a collection at a certain time. As an artist I go through phases of inspiration and introspection, and this is why sometimes it takes more time until I feel I could start a new series. The thing I consider the most important in creating a jewelry is its message, this is why I don’t perceive it as a decorative adornment, but as a translation of my own reflections. Most of my pieces have suggestive titles and their purpose is to help the wearer identify with the message. In this manner, there is a different kind of relationship which is born between the person and the object – it becomes a symbolic reminder, a totem.
What or who inspires you the most?
I have various sources of inspiration, depending on my evolution, I guess. I started with the exploration of the Greek alphabet and culture, alchemy, and then astrology. The more complex pieces were mostly my thoughts and states – simplified and objectified. At the present moment I am interested in psychology, and in this vast area so many things await to be discovered, explored and transformed into art.
What has been the best compliment someone has given your work?
I was told by quite a lot of people that they do not take off their rings from their fingers because they feel as if there is something very important missing. Some said that they consider that my jewelry is bringing them luck.
At the end, the best compliment is that people recommend me to others, and still want to wear what I create. I have been doing quite a lot of wedding bands besides my designs – all unique and customized according to the couple’s story and energy. The fact that my rings will become part of a family, history and heritage is extremely flattering.
How you would describe your affinity and your interaction with the materials you use in your collection?
I feel very comfortable working with silver and this is my favorite material so far. The funny thing is that while I was studying I was literally scared of it – it was pretentious compared to other metals like copper or brass, and also more expensive. Each mistake (and there were plenty) had it’s cost. After years, and hundreds of pieces, I feel like I am finally in a stable and unconditional relationship with this material.
Can you tell us about any exciting plans for the year ahead?
I do have some new collaborations coming up, and hopefully a more complex personal project. But other than that my wish for the year ahead is to travel as much as I can with my work, and raise awareness about it in more cool places like Studio 183.