It’s funny with some people, you seem to know all their friends but them. That’s the case with Diana and myself. I remember talking to her friends about imatiothiki and they all would tell me: Oh, I have a friend, Cat Black, you have to shoot her, she’s amazing! Let’s get one thing straight: Diana is Cat Black and Cat Black is Diana. Diana is a jewelry designer, who also DJs and has a kick ass personal style. Diana is Cat Black, you got that, right? And Cat Black lives in a bohemian apartment in the center of Athens, and with her two cats purring around her feet – or fighting with each other, to be completely honest – she makes the most fabulous torso jewelry you have seen in your life. And that’s that.
You go by the name Cat Black. Why is that?
It occurred just like that. I love cats, everyone knows that and I am not a superstitious person. I mean, I can’t be, I was born on the 13th ! So, as a reaction to all this, I decided to go for black cats. But then I reversed the words, and this is how I came up with my name.
How does a make up artist become a jewelry designer?
I started making jewelry about five years ago. I was working as a make up artist at this company and I quit, because I was emotionally tired with how things were. So yes, I quit, and it was a very funny period in my life, I was feeling a little low. That’s when I started making lots and lots of things, as therapy, you know? Initially the plan was to quit my job, make my book and apply someplace else. But that’s when the recession hit Greece and all the magazines were shutting down, so I stayed at home and focused on my jewelry, which gradually became something I got seriously involved in.
Have you evolved, since then, in the way you design the Cat Black jewelry?
Certainly. That’s how things go, it’s the natural flow of things I guess. I became more romantic and then more aggressive… in a way.
You mean more straightforward?
Yes, straightforward is a nice way to put it. Then you start focusing on things that weren’t really a concern for you up until then, like the materials you use and how you can make them last long. And there’s always the fashion factor. I have never been a fan of new seasons and the way the fashion business works. But you cannot ignore it, you have to see where things are going, the tendencies and the influencers. Also, you see that in the way you perceive things, because at first you see your work in a ‘short sighted’ sort of way, and the more time passes the more you get the general picture of the market, of people’s needs and likes. Plus you evolve on your own. You change preferences and styles.
Such as golden jewelry. I remember my mom and I window shopping when I was a teenager and my mom would point at golden pieces and she would say: Look Diana, isn’t that gorgeous? I was completely negative about gold. No way I would wear something like that. But now, I have changed. I made my mom give me all her golden pieces, you know the vintage ones, and I wear them all the time.
I was like that too. But, seriously, what is it with teenagers and gold? Why won’t they get along?
I think it’s the age. And the styles. Looking back, silver was much closer to the 90s style we used to have.
You are working from home. Well, you have worked from home up until now, but you are about to launch a creative / retail space with your friend, the Dreamer. Can you share more details about it?
Yes, it’s going to be a space that will house a photographer’s studio, a showroom and a workshop. It might enclose other activities as well, but we’ll see. I think it will be much better. Working outside of home. For everyone. For customers, because it will take the pressure off from being in my apartment and feeling like they have to buy something just because they got here, and for me and my daily routine. So yes, the concept is that we will have some designers in our space for some time, and it will be like a mini mini mini shopping center. It’s really exciting, this new beginning, almost like falling in love. You have the fast heartbeats and the stress and all that!
And the fact that you are taking this step with a friend makes things a whole lot better, right?
Yes, the Dreamer and I are very good friends and we have worked together in the past. And we both love food, which only leaves us with a million calories after every restaurant visit! But overall our aesthetics are similar, even if the Dreamer is much brighter and happier and I am much darker.
You have a very strong personal style. Has it never occurred to you to design clothes?
It has, from time to time, but I won’t get into clothes for now. They way I see it is that if you open up to many things, then you are doomed not to succeed at them. I want to focus on one thing and take it a step at a time.
What’s the hardest thing about your work?
I think the hardest thing would be trying to keep a steady daily schedule. Because my workshop is at home, it’s hard to have strict working hours, meaning that a week may go by and I do nothing and then for two weeks I don’t get out of the apartment, because of the loads of work that needs to be done!
And you also DJ from time to time. Is there a particular song you always play?
No, I wouldn’t say there is. The thing is I like guitars, but I also like electronic music as well. So what I play depends on where I am playing.
If you were taking part in this year’s Blogovision, which would be your number one?
Arctic Monkeys probably. But I am not really into albums. I pick songs and I listen to them a lot, but I won’t buy an album and play it nonstop.
Your latest collection is called Cowboys and Indians. How did you come up with that?
It’s a funny story. This summer I was on holidays in Crete with my boyfriend and we drove on his bike to another city, which is 2 hours away from where we were staying. And if you’re on a bike, ok the driver has to watch the road, but the co driver has absolutely nothing to do. So I had to keep myself busy somehow, and I started thinking and thinking. I thought about the things I like and the materials and colors I use and the feathers, which I love. So this stupid song, which I don’t even like, Cowboys and Indians came to mind and that was it. When I got back to Athens, I started my research and that’s how the collection came up.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above:
Cat Black has two cats actually. Lee Cherry and Conan. Lee Cherry comes from Tim Robin’s book. / The scalp you see there was bought from a flea market some time ago. I was curious about the teeth. They don’t seem so steady. But I didn’t touch the thing. Just took a picture of it. / Despite her name, Cat Black doesn’t wear a lot of black. She got bored of it, because when she was working as a make up artist she had to wear black all the time. So I was expecting to find a closet full of black, but instead found color. The black she is wearing on this photo shoot was because I asked to wear it. I am not tired of black. Yet. / The cats eat the plants. The cats eat the plants. Should I say that again? / Days after our photo shoot, Cat Black and the Dreamer got a deal for the space they are about to open. It will be ready around December.