Q&A: Nikko Gray

Insider // Angelica Bonomo // 03/19/12
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Nikko Gray's block jewelry

Nikko Gray

Nikko Gray is a woman of many talents: singer, one third of nail art trio Kleur, jewelry craftsman. And after many hours spent obsessing over the chunky, neon-hued wooden block rings she offers at her nail salon, we finally started asking questions over our technicolor manicures.

You have a lot going on these days!
That's for sure. I'm a singer/songwriter; I run a nail art studio in Hollywood called KLEUR alongside two lovely ladies, Jaeme Estera and Nita Darling. I also make jewelry and help run a boutique called t h e . b r e a t h.

Wow! We've seen you use symbols before, so what does ▲❍▼❏ mean?
▲❍▼❏ means LOVE. My dear friend Imani Waddy is an incredible artist and created an entire alphabet using three primary shapes: triangle, circle, square. He also founded the Pronounced Love collective, which started as a group of about ten friends who are all artists and believe that through love we can achieve greater understanding of who we are as individuals, and how we are each the same. It's really for everyone. Anything you do that is done with love, is Pronounced Love.

So how did that lead to jewelry making?
I've always loved working with my hands and find working on small delicate things particularly appealing—expect I guess most of my designs are huge! I actually started making rings about two years ago when my friend was at my house browsing through a bowl of broken jewelry I'd kept in hopes of one day piecing them back together. He picked up a Betsey Johnson earring and said 'You should make this into a ring!'. From there I researched a bunch of stuff and spend hours and hours exploring the jewelry district in Los Angeles picking out pieces of inspiration.

What is your design philosophy?
Don't over think shit, just do it.

What is maximum number of rings you can wear at one time?
Hmm let's see, five fingers on each hand, so I'd say 15!

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