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Mikal Winn A Desert Home Companion studio visit

Mikal Winn A Desert Home Companion studio visit and interview

LaLuzWinn33cropMikal Winn – A Desert Home Companion
showing with Dave Lebow – Prime Time

May 6 – 29, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, May 6th, 8-11PM

La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Mikal Winn’s jewelry has appeared in the pages of fashion rags such Elle, Lucky, and Teen Vogue, Country star Keith Urban even wore his work on the cover of Playgirl. His commercial creations are collected the likes of Halle Berry, Britney Spears, and many others in the mainstream universe.

On the opposite end of Mikal’s commercial work, he has been creating giant jeweled animals; boars, deer, coyotes and snakes. Using real and faux gemstones, crystals, fossils, vintage chains, buttons and frames, he concocts bizarre, funny, over-the-top beasts.


A former resident of Columbus Ohio where he attended art school, Mikal moved to LA to be with his now husband. At the time, he was designing beltbuckes, which were picked up by a local LA showroom during the “beltbuckle craze” of 2000. He then became interested in making jewelry. Mikal stayed in LA a year and a half then then decided to make the move to the hi-desert.

Mikal originally hooked up with La Luz de Jesus owner Billy Shire a few years back when they met in Joshua Tree. Shire came to Mikal’s studio, was impressed by his giant jeweled animal assemblage pieces, and asked him to be in the Rouge Taxidermy Show. Other than a piece in the Taxidermy show, and a small 29 Palms show attended by locals, this is Mikal’s first proper gallery exhibition.

At the beginning of this year, Mikal Winn and his husband purchased a beautiful spread in the barren, homesteader dotted area of 29 Palms, in between Joshua Tree and the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base. It is a lush, green oasis in the middle of the dusty desert, with grass and trees, remnants of a horse stable, a vegetable garden, a roofed outdoor area where Mikal states he wants to hold hoedowns for his friends, and of course living quarters, one of which now houses Mikal’s studio. Their spread is fix-up project which they are busily working on, but even in its’ current state, is a beautiful paradise!

This interview with Mikal took place in his studio in April of 2016.


What’s the difference in your approach in making jewelry for commercial sale, and creating your assemblage art?

With art you can do whatever you want. With jewelry, I have to stay within the limits of what sells. Throughout the years I’ve learned what sells, if I were to do something really crazy it wouldn’t sell as far as jewelry goes, with art, I can do whatever I want.

Where do you find the objects you put in your pieces?

Thrift stores, antique stores, everywhere. I go through the desert on hikes; I collect all kinds of stuff. Everyone says I’m a hoarder but I’m not a hoarder, everything you see (in his well-organized studio) is going to go into something. You see stuff and know you can do something with it, you just put it in a pile and it eventually comes together.

When you are looking at a pile of junk, what is it that attracts you to the things you pick out?

Anything stupid and silly, I love that stuff, could be scary too, a little off. You see things that are supposed to be cute but are actually scary.

What inspired you to do these assemblage pieces?

When I was a kid, watching Goonies and Indiana Jones. I always liked the gems and jewels and all those flashy things. I’ve always had skulls and bones in my stuff, then gems and Swarovski’s and crystals and jewels. I like to mix them together and bring the dead back to life.

In regards to your jewelry business, do you keep a stock of items, or do you custom make your pieces to order?

I do two seasons, the holiday and then spring summer – I’ll do 30 necklaces, 50 bracelets and 10 earrings for each season – for those I keep it basic as I reproduce them, but in-between (jewelry) shows I do a lot of one of a kind pieces which I’ll take to the shows and sell on hand, something a little more outrageous.

Mikal Winn’s A Desert Home Companion
shows with Dave Lebow’s Prime Time
Opening reception: Friday, May 6th, 8-11PM
and runs through May 29
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
View full show at this link


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