Gabriel Urist

Gabriel Urist

If you’re an average hip-hop fan today, Jacob the Jeweler has probably laid claim to your entire forearm, and the ice man Paul Wall got your mouth lookin something like a disco ball. You’re steady shinin’, but you still feel the need to accessorize. I mean, c’mon, Ghostface had a golden eagle on his arm…before it flew away, and those G-Unit pendants got spin action on ‘em that will make you think you’ve turned into a chicken. Equally hypnotizing however, is the latest Custom Bling line from Gabriel Urist. Chances are you won’t hear about his pieces in the next Kanye song, and he doesn’t have the promotional avenue of say, a Paul Wall, but if you have some extra metal after your next jewelry store stick-up, holla at the kid for something special.

Gabriel Urist

Format: What initially got you interested in metal work?
Gabriel: The tools and the processes. I was surrounded by artists growing up, and as a young kid in the market I wanted something challenging. It’s something that takes a lifetime to learn.

Format: Explain the process of creating a new piece.
Gabriel: It’s not a freehand game; it’s all measuring. Every piece of different. Making stuff is not a perfect science. But generally, the first step is to make a sketch. Then I make a wax. When the wax is polished, I’ll cast in silver. Then I’ll take the silver piece and sharpen up the lines, making the final model sharp and crispy.

Format: How did your focus develop into shoes?
Gabriel: Before the shoes it was basketball. I’d been doing a jewelry line devoted to the game of basketball. One day, I was talking with my friends James and Jaquan. We were talking about jewelry and I said something like, “I should do some sneakers.” Later, I came back with the first one and the response was bananas. The project became more serious than I’d anticipated.

Format: Do you ever feel that your creativity is limited, being that the brand has taken off in the way it has?
Gabriel: No, I don’t feel that. I feel a responsibility to create stuff.

Gabriel Urist

Format: Do you take requests for custom pieces? If so, have there been any interesting pieces people have asked for?
Gabriel: Yes, that’s what I do. Lot’s of interesting pieces. I made some silver carpenter tools; some four-finger rings; some gold toothpicks; gold alligator clips.

Format: What’s your opinion of hip-hop’s relation to metal-work?
Gabriel: I wouldn’t be doing what I do if it weren’t for hip-hop. This is my personal relationship with both. I get so much inspiration from hip-hop, and if you hear what’s on commercial rap radio these days, it’s like these rappers are getting their inspiration from metal work and jewelry.

Format: What is the price range for your pieces?
Gabriel: 200-20,000 US$.

Format: Do clients generally wear the pieces or buy them to collect?
Gabriel: They wear em.

Format: One look at your website shows that you’ve crafted pieces for everyone from Kanye West to Spike Lee. Describe your typical client.
Gabriel: New York.

Gabriel Urist

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Shane Ward

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  1. I peeped these in the last Nylon. But the website aint responding. Is there somewhere else I can get the information I need these in my life.

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