Self-expression through sterling silver: Calgary artist runs business making grillz


Phillip Nguyen calls his craft a mix of dentistry and metallurgy. For his purchasers, it is a motive to flash a giant smile.

At his enterprise, Yung Metallic Syndicate, Nguyen makes customized jewellery, like rings and ear cuffs, however the primary product is grillz — enamel jewellery.

It began when he studied on the Alberta School of Artwork and Design to determine what gear and metalworking information he wanted.

“At first, it simply got here to me as a private curiosity after which I additionally realized there wasn’t actually a marketplace for grillz in Calgary,” stated Nguyen. “I believe there’s quite a lot of alternatives and some huge cash to be made right here.”

Although he calls it a distinct segment artwork type, he is additionally busy with prospects, with half a dozen on the go proper now. The entire course of, from casting a mould of their enamel to placing the ultimate polish on the customized piece, takes about two weeks — time that is properly price it, say his purchasers.

“I simply really feel like I might be myself in the case of sporting my jewellery at any time,” stated Francis Bui, considered one of his purchasers. “I am simply at all times smiling round everyone when I’ve them [in].

“I like how he does customized items as a result of there isn’t any one within the metropolis who actually makes customized items.”

WATCH | Calgary artist carves out a distinct segment making grillz, the enamel jewellery with roots in hip-hop tradition:

Calgary artist carves out a distinct segment making grillz, the enamel jewellery with roots in hip hop tradition

“I could make a dwelling and get fly on the identical time,” says Phillip Nguyen. With roots within the hip-hop tradition, these oral elaborations provide a novel type of expression and a motive to smile.

That self-expression is on the core of Nguyen’s work.

“Simply with the ability to make something at any time that represents what I am feeling or what others are feeling, can also be a very good feeling — to know that I can assist anyone carry their self expression imaginative and prescient to fruition,” he stated.

Calgary artist Up to date Vice, who has had two items carried out by Nguyen and has a 3rd deliberate, likes the customization and creativity of the method.

“It is very a lot a collaborative factor, you could have the thought in order that’s your enter of vitality after which he helps make that concept turn into a actuality,” they stated.

Jose Lacera, left, and Up to date Vice showcase their customized grillz. (James Younger/CBC)

Jose Lacera made the choice to get grillz on impulse when Nguyen was at a hip-hop occasion providing on-the-spot moulds.

“That is what hip-hop’s all about, so I really feel like Phil’s bringing that facet into the group,” stated Lacera.

When he obtained the completed piece, he says he felt “nearly like royalty.”

“He is blinging out your mouth and it is superior.”

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