Images remind us of our history. They force us to reminisce and bring back a rush of emotions. Liz Krinsky’s jewelry incorporates such powerful imagery in an effort to preserve a local history that is very much personal due to the fact that she grew up in St. Louis.
Having recently come back to the area, she is now remembering the entire city from her childhood experiences. It was in her search to see what happened to all the places she used to love that she stumbled upon her inspiration for her jewelry. When she compared the St. Louis she grew up in to what is it like today, she felt like a witness to the decline of the American dream.
Krinsky focuses on the fall of the bigger-than-life advertizing associated with the baby boomers era.
“When they [the iconic neon signs and loud advertisements] were around, the American dream seemed so real and so possible,” said Krinsky.he wants to give people a sense of urgency; in order to understand not only this city, but also to understand that it is through knowledge of our past that we grow.
Krinsky has been fascinated by architecture since she was a young girl. She believes that the style of a building can tell you about its purpose and its history. Today, Krinsky goes around St. Louis on her scooter looking for inspiration from the city.
She first got into metalsmithing and jewelry making in college because she needed to take a 3-D course for her graphic design major. Krinsky said it was then when she began to see “jewelry like small sculptures.” Once she started she could not stop.
She later worked for 12 years in a Cincinnati gallery. The way she found the job was like a dream, and she recalls the time worked there as some of her best memories. However, after 12 great years of being there, the gallery closed.
She then worked in many other places but by the time she got back to St. Louis, she had lost everything. She came back home as a way to restart.With her new beginning she found a whole lot more. She had not lived in
St. Louis for 20 years, but being back reminded her of so many things. Memories of how she had gotten engaged at The Fox Theatre. Or of how her father used to work at the Southern Bell company on Delmar flooded back.
One void she found from growing up was the chain of neighborhood grocery stores called Tomboy. She remembered it as a place where everyone had friendly relationships with the employees. For Krinsky, Tomboy was a reflection of how much St. Louis companies meant to the people in the area and how proud they were of their city.
What Krinsky seemed to be particularly fond of was how every neighborhood had an identity, whether it was an amusement park, a drive-in theater or just something that caused people to interact and see themselves as a part of that neighborhood, they had something uniting them. This was the history that the everyday person experienced.
She wants her jewelry to be a revival of those old community identities.
Krinsky believes the loss of these local businesses and neighborhood lifestyles has caused us as a population to become impersonal.
Another aspect Krinsky loved about St. Louis was the aviation scene at McDonnell Douglas and Ozark Airlines. She recalled that when the airport expansions happened, people would go to the airport for dinner and the opportunity to watch the planes landing and taking off. She still remembers the theme song of Ozark Airlines when they first got jets, “Ozark is the growing airline – the going, growing airline…there’s jets!”
She also spoke of other memories, such as The Holiday Hills Amusement Park, Midtown’s “Automobile Alley” and North Grand’s theater district. Today we only see little traces of these things. According to Krinsky, it was almost as though everyone was improving with them. It was a time when each neighborhood had a park where there would be picnics, school functions or even a rollercoaster ride or a Ferris wheel.
Krinsky sees how the city has evolved, noting that some things have improved, while others have decayed or just simply disappeared. For example, the Palladium Ballroom is abandoned now when at one time people such as Ella Fitzgerald performed there. Krinsky often wonders if everything changed overnight and what sparked such a drastic change.
Today, it feels like that entire era in St. Louis history is being tucked away under the old, dilapidated image of the city. Today, when you go to St. Louis’ last drive-in it looks so shabby, but it was once a local favorite. Krinsky thinks that this is what the bigger-than-life era gave to the people; it attached people to surreal images. She hopes that by capturing these images and incorporating them into her jewelry she will bring back the old memories and people together.
Her next project is trying to get photos of all the old places that played a role in everyday life and comparing them to the places today. Krinsky believes that putting these side by side will reveal such a history. “Whole neighborhoods have come and gone over the past 50 years,” said Krinsky.
Not only does she want to revive St. Louis’ rich history, but she also wants to question the future and where are we heading. Krinsky summed it all up by saying, “People were so inviting even on a small scale. It was not just left up to the big businesses to run everything – people were excited!”
Check out Krinsky’s inspirational work through her blog (onstl.com) and on Etsy (look under Liz Krinsky Designs). If you are interested in a truly unique piece of jewelry for a gift (or for yourself), contact information is available.