ANU art student Jonathon Zalakos did the Genesis Owusu grill featured on the album cover Smiling With No Teeth | Canberra weather

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What started out as a throwaway project for Canberra’s Jonathon Zalakos turned out to be one of the defining features of the cover of Genesis Owusu’s debut album. Zalakos is the jewelry maker behind Canberra’s iconic gold grill, Owusu, for his teeth. Not only was it featured on the cover of Ghanaian-Australian hip-hop star, Smiling With No Teeth, but Owusu – real name Kofi Owusu – also wore it to recent ARIA, where he won. numerous awards including album of the year. Of course, the jewelry maker, who is finishing his Honors BA at Australian National University, didn’t expect the grill to get so high profile. For Zalakos, this was always meant to be a simple learning experience – a chance to develop his skills and video for his YouTube channel. There, his videos have accumulated millions of views. “I’ve been wanting to do a grill for someone for a while and I was just passively looking for a model that could appear in a video about it,” he said. “It was when I was going to the Genesis Owusu show – I was going just for a bit of fun – that I thought it would be perfect for the job. reached out. ”I was just treating it like a throwaway project and figured I could contribute a bit to the rap scene in Canberra at the same time. But then the video blew up completely. “And kudos to Genesis Owusu for that. I’m just rolling on his tails.” While Zalakos has been making jewelry since he was a teenager – aside from a few tries on his own teeth – this was the designer’s first time trying a grill. Not only did it take longer than expected – with the project taking three to four months from start to finish – Zalakos was indeed embarking on the project blindly. READ MORE: “There was no information online. You would have a snippet or something behind the scenes of a jeweler, but when I contacted people about it I found out it was a very well kept secret. ”he said. “So I stumbled across this process. No one else had used the vacuum forming process that I used to make the grids. Everyone uses wax. So it was a new process that I just had to invent. But while the process was a lot of trial and error, the result saw the jewelry designer inundated with requests for commission. He’s even cooking up a grill for a hip hop artist from Canberra – “this one is still a bit hidden”. While he mostly does orders at the moment – aside from a Cuban gold chain he sells on his website – the designer hopes to branch out with a small production line next year. Zalakos also has a solo show at NAFC in Dickson scheduled for next month for which he is producing works. “It just paints a picture of the jewelry as a kind of evil specter that pulls the strings of humanity through generations,” he said. “The work itself is classic jewelry that has a twist that makes it come alive, whether it’s talking to you or looking at you, or whether it’s been cut to reveal internal anatomy. But I got into jewelry very early on – I’ve been focusing on it for a long time. I have always seen it as the richest form you can create. There are very few crafts that have such dense detail and fine levels of finish and finesse. “Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


Kayleen C. Rice