Saturday, September 4, 2010

Seeing the World EVOLVE with John Durante

John Durante in Milwaukee-mAryD
 Jawn D lives with his eyes wide open, and gives back to the universe at every turn. 
He is a piercer at Laughing Buddha tattoo in Seattle Washington, but rarely sits still for long.  With his impending marriage to his girl Dasha, his dance card for conventions and travel is seasoned with exotic and sublime.
He's heavy on the convention circuits, and if he's not in attendance, dimes to dollars his line of organic body jewelry, Evolve is represented. 
The products are an amazing mixture of comfort and class.  Most likely the stone, buffalo bone, wood, brass, and mother of pearl creations evolved (haha-no pun intended) into wearable body art because John is a well seasoned an knowledgeable piercer (18 Years), man about town (Laughing Buddha Seattle, WA) and everywhere, and avid collector.  With 18 years in this industry; he knows his shit. and some of yours.
He travels around the world, collecting materials, stories and bringing the best artisans into the Evolve fold.  He sends that all back into the atmosphere with his own snappy sort of class, giving every shop (wholesale) and the pierced the experience of his well-traveled passport. Dude is like a cosmic volley player.   People that have been pierced by john say "He is, without a doubt, the most friendly, open, understanding, and accomodating modification-practitioner I have ever met, let alone worked with. Even sans his character, the sessions are phenomenal, because he is mind-blowingly experienced and talented." Word.
Trying on some huge ear weights
My own experience with John was a phone call I made to him on behalf of  a frantic bride of mine (I photograph weddings) who had been duped on some online bs retailer and realized to late she wouldn't be getting her fancy white plugs she ordered for her wedding.  John (who, incidentally lives on the other side of the country from us) managed to get her odd-sized plugs, in a delicious stone of white onyx and John even added in a pair of blue lace agate plugs so she could have a choice on her wedding day.  He sent that shit out that day, and she had some lovely jewelry well before for her wedding day.  He just has the kinda cool that's in the details.
Watching John move kinda sounds like a soundtrack of smooth hip-hop with world beats... his company smells of freedom and spice. Hanging with the dude in Milwaukee, I had to restrain myself from drilling him with questions. Still, He has the most amazing presence.  In one certain brief moment at a convention  while a younger guy was getting tattooed, John left his Evovle booth to aid in the comfort and care, sharing his ibuprofen and pizza with some stranger in the true spirit of hospitality.  Every brush in his presence is a lesson in how to be awesome.
The man is an inspiration and a muse, seek him out, catch up if you can and spread the wonder. (photos courtesy of John Durante)

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
What's your travel schedule look like this year? Hell City Phoenix, Mario Barths New Jersey Show, BMX net in Berlin Germany, back to Russia in Sept/Oct, Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Richmond..... That's all for now???

Evolve Jewelry--- How DID it get to be so fly? Well, I have been a piercer for almost 18 years.. As well as quite the crazy world traveler... The connections I have made as well as the experience in this industry, approached from a piercers perspective helps me create some of the most amazing unique jewelry available...

What's your mission/philosophy for Evolve? Well the name says it all!!!

You travel quite a bit... Why is that? I was never satisfied with books and pictures of these exotic places around the world, I always wanted to go see them, make them real for me.. Many of these places I have continued to visit yearly now for more than 10 years...

I read on your ms blog from years ago that you didn't dig China--what's up with that? Well, that first trip there ended with a Chinese gangster pointing a gun to my head... Getting robbed.. Not too fun... Wrong place wrong time... in a big big way, hahaha....

JOOhhhhhn, will you telll meee about BALI? What's it like? What did you do there? Well Bali is a cool place, I do a lot of business there, some of my carvers are there.. Although these days I am bringing more and more of our production back to the USA... The culture there is beautiful, life is art... Its everywhere there... A very inspiring environment...

What’s up with your work--how are you pushing the boundaries? I do piercing, and a fair amount of body modification.. A lot of scarification, branding, large gauge procedures, and other surgical modifications... With my experience I have refined most of my procedures to a fine precise art...

Who’s the heaviest influence in your style? Do you have a shrine or anything for the person yet? Hahaha, I have had many influences, I'm sure too many to mention.. Some include Christian White, Stephan Santoro, Erik Dakota, Elayne Angel, Charles Gatewood, Traveling Mick,

What do you love about piercing? Its an ancient art that is still alive today, the empowerment that it brings is present today as it has been for all time...

What do you think sucks about it? The commercialization of the industry, that has taken something that used to be comprised of almost all innovators and leaders, that has now been turned into so many blind followers of what seems to be almost a fad or trend... As well as the bottom feeder shit company's who sell very low quality products to a large portion of this industry....

What else do you do creatively? Hmmmm, travel, and my work is my life... Designing jewelry, finding new materials, researching my next life changing adventure... In my off time i try to slow things down, process all the adventures.. Be boring for a week here and a week there!!! Play some 13/24 (dice)

What’s on your bookshelf –body mod related and otherwise? I'm sure I have collected any and all piercing and mod related publications.. Alot of lonely planet travel guides.. Loads of cultural anthropology, and ethnography.. Communist/ socialist realism artwork.. Travel stories... I can seem to get into fiction.. I do however learn reading about somewhere or something I know I will be able to use in my real life..

Do piercing’s hurt? Not if I do them for you...

I want something pierced, how much? If you have to ask you cant afford it!!!

Is "pimping" easy? Hell yes....

What excites you--How do you get your kicks (not making jewelry of body modifying)? Seeing someplace far off and exotic... Lets see as of lately... Russia, landing in Moscow for my first time.. Seeing all the sites of what was once our biggest enemy... Wandering around Northern Vietnam late last year, alone, with hill tribes... Getting tattooed by monks, old head hunting tribes... Living the mother fucking dream in general!!!

I have always tried to motivate and inspire people through my work, and life style... To everyone out there, life is short, don't wait, go see the world... You can do it!!!

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