Louis Farkovitz has been doodling and creating art, in one form or another, for over forty years. But it wasn’t until his friends and family convinced him that he was more than a goldsmith that he realized his true potential as a creative being. . . as an artist.
In our interview, Louis, who now designs and embellishes electric guitars, shares some wonderful metaphors about art, creating, and being inspired.
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Alyice: I understand that you spend your days creating fine jewelry and your spare time creating art out of electric guitars. Can you tell us how this came about?
Louis: I always loved guitars. In the right hands, they make fantastic music happen, and they’re sexy crafted works of art in their own right. If electronics are incorporated, the meld of technology, design, and fine craftsmanship is nothing short of mind blowing. I love everything about them. But, I didn’t have the talent to master the instrument as a musician.
Working as a goldsmith continues to be a challenge and pleasure, and I have enjoyed over 35 years of creating museum quality Judaica as well as fine jewelry. However, the artist in me, had to seek out new and innovative forms of self expression.
Embellishing guitars has been an endless source of inspiration. It morphed me into a rock star!
Alyice: For those who have a hard time understanding, why would someone want to decorate a guitar?
Louis: The will to adorn a guitar, is in a way the equivalent of showering the beautiful woman. . . adoring her with wonderful jewels and fine oils. With guitars, I need not maintain monogamy! Ha-ha!
Guitars are just way cool! And why not? Painters paint on canvas, wood, doors, and even guitars, why not use beautiful metal and gems?
Alyice: Does the artwork effect the sound quality of the guitars?
Louis: Although from the get-go, playing Melody, my first guitar adornment project, I had a feeling that my work increased its sustain, I wasn’t really sure because I’m not an experienced musician. But, it was not relevant to me whether or not it affected the sound. I just followed my irresistible impulse, and didn’t give it too much thought.
Later on, when I was commissioned to work on a friend’s guitar, it did become a consideration. To my delight, my close musician friend told me that it is not in my imagination, the weight does increase the sustain in most of my guitars. This is a desirable attribute that also applies to the few acoustics I have worked on in the past.
Alyice: How does creating art make you feel?
Louis: Super human during the process, and euphoric once it is complete. I feel as though my art immortalizes me in a way. Being made out of precious and semi-precious metals, my work will most likely outlive me, at least I hope it will! Or perhaps in a thousand years from now or so, some strange alien archeologists will dig up my work and think of me as being a really cool, ancient human artist! (Obviously influenced as a child/teen!)
Alyice: How do you come up with your designs?
Louis: I will look at a guitar and the concept will just come to me. Occasionally the shape of the guitar, headstock, or pick guard inspire me.
Liora, my dear wife, also influences me.
About a year ago, I fell in love with a 1960’s bright green Encore guitar that I simply couldn’t resist. My wife insisted that I design a dragon motif for it so I did. . . and it is presently a work in progress that I plan to complete sometime this May.
Alyice: Can you share your creative process?
Louis: It took me a long time to develop my technical system, it is valuable intellectual property so I’ll not get into details about.
What I will share, is that from the moment of conception to its completion, it is a painstaking, highly detailed process, that is very time consuming. When I am commissioned to work on vintage or collectible guitars, I have developed techniques to adorn these guitars in a way that is completely non-invasive, so that they can effortlessly be returned to their original condition.
Alyice: There must be a niche market for guitar designers. Where do you find your clients?
Louis: Up to recently, the few commissions that I’ve accepted have been through referrals from other clients and enthusiastic collectors. Sadly, yet thankfully, I don’t have enough time and energy to maintain my much needed job, take commissioned guitar work, and complete my project. My number 1 priority is to bring home the bacon, and number 2 is to complete my guitar project.
So. . . at this point, I have not been marketing my guitars, and they are not for sale just yet. Although my partner (and wife), and I do have a long term strategy that we are patiently working on, we are pressing forward one step at a time. Hopefully my project will come to fruition sooner rather than later.
Alyice: What is the one thing you wish you knew about designing guitars before you got started?
Louis: Early on, I realized that I am embellishing objects that are works of art with my own art. So in a certain way, it has been a collaboration with other unknown designers and artists, and designers who don’t know I’m alive, yet. The metal and gems I add to guitars are no different than the paint a painter adds to their canvas.
Alyice: What is the best part about designing guitars?
Louis: For now, I adorn them and although I do have a few of my own guitar designs in mind, I have not yet had the time to have a master luthier craft one of my designs. I think what I love the most is to see and hear my guitars come to a new life while being played by musicians and friends who enjoy them so much that they don’t want to put them down.
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