David Quarles IV is a soul that you’ll love immediately upon impact. I’d only heard good things about him before we met through mutual connections throughout the city, but once I finally met him? I knew that he was an artist to know. One of the things that I love most about this series is the interesting conversations that I get to have with people during the photoshoot. I’m typically a team of one, so it’s very lowkey and somewhat intimate, so they can talk freely and be comfortable in their skin, and I learned so much about David beyond IVJD, his jewelry line. We shared family stories, talked about his artistic background (he’s also a painter), and we talked about the beauty of NOLA and it’s ties to cultural and spiritual growth for so many.
Needless to say, David is truly one to watch, and I’m pleased to share some of his gorgeous, celestially inspired designs. Read on to learn more about him, what inspires him, and to of course, get your hands on his handmade designs!
What first led you to design jewelry?
Well, I started designing jewelry along with my cousin Whitney Washington, as one of our master plans to finally make money from our art. We set up one year (2004) at the Cooper Young Festival, and to our surprise, people bought our jewelry (we didn’t know fully what we were doing). This apparently sparked something in me, and I couldn’t help but desire to design more ornate pieces of jewelry. Eventually, jewelry became the focus of my AP Art portfolio in high school; and from then developed into a business plan, which birthed a small business.
Why the name IVJD?
IV Jewelry Designs was the initial name of IVJD. IV – I am David Quarles IV. In the chance that my first/only child isn’t a boy, I wanted to make sure to carry on our family’s line of Davids. So just in case David Quarles V doesn’t make his appearance in this world, I would have honored the named through IVJD. Also, as marketing wasn’t offered in high school when IVJD started, Jewelry Designs was added as the second part of the business name. I say that to say, that was a LONG name, and it would have never fit on my jewelry tags! So, to have a cleaner, more concise – potentially iconic (down the road, you know) – name, I shortened everything to IVJD.
What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
Each design session is started with me, and in this order: turning on a playlist of Erykah Badu, Alina Baraz, Dawn Richard & Maxwell, lighting incense and candles (and depending on the hour) pouring a glass(es) of wine. During the day, I’ll doodle out designs. That way, I’ll maximize the time I have in the studio by executing the planned designs, which oftentimes leads to other designs being created.
As an artist that works across different mediums, how does that influence your jewelry design? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from my genealogy. I love to think of what my ancestors would have worn in their day-to-day lives, as well as which pieces they would have selected/crafted for their most special events. I’ll then marry those ideas with other and related cultural influences by way of material selection. Too, each piece I create is given a name. Most times, those names will be influenced by names associated with strength and happiness in the language(s) of the culture from which that particular design is influenced.
The names could also come from individuals that I admire or that have made a significant impact on my life. This sometimes leads to a redesign of any given piece, as I’ll then aim to have the design reflect more of the personality of the person from which the piece has been inspired. It’s not as confusing of a process as it may seem. It’s just how my brain works, lol!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I think I enjoy my freedom the most as a designer. Although I have a clientele base that I aim to please, when I create, that is my sacred place in which any boundary or limit that is placed is determined, solely by me. And since I don’t like limits, this is the realm in which I can push any imaginable boundary – and all to create beauty? That’s an amazing feeling!
What would you do with 3 more hours in your day?
Drive over to my parents home daily, eat breakfast, lunch or dinner with them, play with my furry brother (their husky, Tucker) and talk about any and everything.
What’s your vision for the future of your brand?
Thankfully, and with time, I’ve become a recognizable and recommended name in the Memphis community. I’d like to continue to see growth in that area, as well as expand that recommend status in other markets outside of the city/state/country. I also plan to do a minor revamp of the name, with the sole goal of moving the brand to a more potentially iconic look, feel and status (more to come on that). I plan to work more with bloggers/influencers and stylists to move IVJD to becoming a recommended source for jewelry as truly wearable art. I can’t lie, I love walking down the streets of Memphis and recognizing one of my pieces. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right! Now, to be able to go on vacation across the pond, or in any part of the world and have that same experience?! (insert praise-hand emoji here).
Thanks so much for sharing with me David!