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Art & Life with Rhys Niesen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhys Niesen.

Rhys, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I graduated from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in 2012. I went in thinking I would major in drawing and painting, but I discovered metalsmithing along the way and was immediately fascinated.

After school I had a small studio space; I started doing artist markets and displaying collections in boutiques. I eventually quit my bartending job and moved to Atlanta, Ga. My friend owned a bike shop, and I was able to have a workspace within the shop itself–very appropriate since I was growing into an avid cyclist and racer.

From 2014-2016, I grew my line of wearable goods and started making custom headbadges for bicycles.

In 2016, I moved to western mass to pursue bike racing and have been here since, working out of a beautiful shared space; creating and traveling to race.

I’m always inspired by the beautiful things I see when I’m out riding on trails and gorgeous farm roads.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I love the idea of jewelry to empower. I make bold metal goods, often including raw stones. These pieces are made to embolden the wearer. I love combining the tough and the ultra-femme.

The custom bicycle headbadges are like a figurehead on a ship or a piece of jewelry for a bike to enjoy. My own features a ufo abducting my bicycle from a camping scene in the forest.

I do everything by hand, the slow way. I saw sheet metal with a tiny jewelers saw and layer in sterling silver, brass, and gold.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
I have to be true to myself and continue making things I’m excited about. I define success as being unique and individual and putting something into the world that makes someone feel totally badass when they wear it or adorn their bicycle with it.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My etsy shop:

Also accessible through my website

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Forrest Aguar, Love Stories Co.

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