Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Boo and Boo Factory was founded by me, Christina Anton, as a way to create unique leather jewelry that you just can’t find anywhere else. The forms, shapes, colors, and patterns are all inspired by my training in architecture. All pieces are handmade from my Chicago studio with love and attention to detail. I specialize in statement necklaces, bold neon earrings, and bright color bracelets which combine techniques ranging from hand painted, hand cut, beaded, and woven materials. I love mixing patterns, prints, color, and form. I have been an architectural designer since 2006, working in various architecture firms in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. I graduated with an architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago where I learned many computer and fabrication techniques that have greatly influenced my designs. After recently graduating with a master degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where I gained a penchant for color and texture, as well as advanced computer modeling, animation, and cutting edge fabrication techniques ranging from laser cut, CNC, and 3D printing. I discovered I had a love of small object design. This inspired me to take my growing jewelry design business and pursue it full time.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I just jumped in! I’ve always made things since I was little so it’s a real passion for me. I love fashion and bright colors and patterns so it was only natural for me to start making jewelry. I started Boo and Boo Factory when I was in graduate school to help me pay for supplies and my 3D printed models. When I graduated, it had grown so much that I decided not to work in architecture but to work for myself.
How would you describe your style?
I love to wear lots of patterns and mix and match different elements to create a unique style. I actually wear a lot of black and then I’ll add a bright pop of color with accessories.
What’s your inspiration?
I am inspired by textile art. I am also inspired by the colors and materials I use.
What is art to you?
Art is anything that you are passionate about. It’s an intimate expression of who you are, how you see the world, and where you are at in your life. Art is for everyone, a basic human need for beauty.
What does your typical day look like?
I don’t have a set schedule, I just go with the flow. Everyday I make something new, well at least I try to. I have so many ideas of new pieces and new product lines that sometimes it’s overwhelming. As much as I’d love to just create all day, there’s so much that goes into running a business. I have to wear many hats such as marketing, accounting, research, pricing, wholesale, web design, SEO, shipping, sourcing supplies, etc. It seems like there’s never enough time in the day! But the great thing about what I do is that I love it, especially the part of being my own boss. I never thought that I’d be able to do something I truly love for a living and I’m so grateful for that. Plus I get to talk and network with people from around the globe. Everyday is so exciting because I never know what to expect or what new thing I’m going to learn.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Depending on the size and intricacy of the piece, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to 3 to 4 hours. I take a lot of pride in the quality and craftsmanship of my work and each one is made with a lot of love.
How do you keep motivated?
Seeing my pieces being mailed to customers all over the world is my inspiration. Connecting with other creatives keeps my creative mind flowing. Also, I challenge myself by trying to create more unique and intricate designs. I am always learning new techniques and applying them to my work so that my line is fresh and always evolving.
How have others reacted to your work?
The reaction is love it or hate it. Some people just don’t get it while others are crazy about it. I never want the reaction to my work to be passive.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
I want to be memorable as a brand. Whether you like my work or not, I hope that my pieces will be recognized for their originality.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t worry about what others are doing. I think as a creative it’s easy to compare yourself to other people. But the truth is, everyone is different and it’s not worth it. Just do the best you can, be true to yourself and keep working hard. Authenticity is key.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
If you want to do something you love for a living, you have to make lots of sacrifices. Having a creative business is not easy and I work more now that I did at any architecture firm. Make sure you research and learn as much as you can about business as well as progressing in your craft. Just keep creating and get your work out there.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I’m working on a 3D printed jewelry line which I hope to launch later this year. I’m really excited about it, particularly printing in gold and silver. The pieces will be derived from my architectural portfolio.
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
There’s a few! I love Denise Reytan’s colorful mixed media jewelry. I also love Shayna Leib. She does amazing glassblowing art. Britt Bass is another artist I follow. Her paintings are amazing with great compositions and inspirational color palettes.