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karl monies

KARL MONIES: “PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO”

When talking to fellow creatives, we often wonder: HOW DO THEY DO IT? To prevent Instagram stalking or doom-scrolling to figure out their secret sauces and success stories, we prefer to ask them face-to-face. Today: an unfiltered conversation with KARL MONIES, creative director at MONIES. Cover image: courtesy of Karl Monies

Also, read: AYNUR ABBOTT: “THE HICCUPS MADE ME REALIZE WHO I WISH TO BE”

Karl Monies has long been synonymous with innovation and tradition in design. As the creative force behind Monies, a company famed for its bold and distinctive jewelry, Karl has seamlessly blended the rich heritage of his parents’ legacy with his contemporary vision. His journey from a childhood immersed in the creative environment of his parents’ studio to leading Monies into a new era. Today, Monies continues to thrive under his leadership, pushing boundaries while honoring the roots that have shaped its identity.

IN CONVERSATION WITH KARL MONIES

What is your earliest childhood memory that defines who you are today?
“When I was about five, I played in my parents’ studio. It was evening, and I hung my body from an anvil that stood in the corner for goldsmithing. It was quite unstable, tipped over, and fell on me. It was about five times heavier than me and completely crushed the muscles in my right thigh. I remember the trip in the car to the emergency room and feeling a weird gratitude that it didn’t hit me in the head. I still have a mess of a muscle in my thigh and a hole in my shin. I never thought I could run marathons, but I believe thankfulness pardoned me and gave me a second chance.”

Walk us through an average morning of yours. Do you swear by any rituals?
“I wake up at 5:50 most days. I shower, get dressed, and wake up the kids. I dress them and feed them oatmeal at the kitchen counter while making school lunch for the oldest. I love listening to The Beatles in the morning, any music that sets the tone for the day. We might play around while getting ready to get out the door. I often drop them off—Zeus at school, Mio by the kindergarten bus, and Wanda in the nursery. That’s the first two hours done by 8.”



What has driven you to take over Monies? And what is it like to be the second generation at the company’s helm?
“It was a gradual acknowledgment of being called to the occasion and raising the responsibility. It wasn’t obvious, but the long-lost son returning to carry the family crest sounds like a bad repetition of history. Nonetheless, I felt called to it and took the baton immediately. COVID-19 had a say, but the timing couldn’t be perfect for Monies, me, and my parents.”

Earlier, you stated that you invented the future based on Monies’ past. What do you mean by this statement?
“What I mean by this is that we are a repetition of what has been, whether we want it or not. We stand on the shoulders of history, what has come before, and that is our point zero when we try to reinvent the future. I hold my past and upbringing in my thoughts and ways of thinking, representing my parents’ methodology. I cannot deny, whether I want it or not, that my intuitive choices continue what my legacy touched upon.”

And how do you generate ideas and bring them to life?
“Generating them can come from anywhere—the way a crumpled piece of paper lies in a trashcan or the sound from a garden sprinkler gone rogue. How someone isn’t carrying themselves down the street or how a conversation evolves. I’m trying to say that the mind works in mysterious ways, and it’s unforeseeable how synapses are activated. In this sense, I think of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s beautiful statement: ‘Pay attention to what you pay attention to.'”

How do you combine your expertise in different design disciplines into Monies?
“I do what I like and don’t do what I don’t like. And I think it’s also very important for me to have an outlet outside Monies. I’ve always had my practice, which is very free. Not much has changed in how I work, really, maybe rather how I communicate what it is that I do.”

Karl Monies

What’s the best part of doing what you do?
“That’s impossible for me to answer. It all has a place in the big gamut of things. Of course, some things are funnier than others. Some things are more serious. Some things are harder but, therefore, also more liberating to finish. But it all has a time and a place.”

How do you divide your time between your ceramics and taking the creative lead at Monies?
“Monies is my full-time job with more than it entails. I have a studio where I make my metal, ceramic, and textile work. This is my safe space. I go there in the evenings, on weekends, and vacations. But it’s a balance; lines blur a bit when I have deadlines.”



What’s the one moment in your career that you will never forget?
“It was a very uneventful epiphany. One day, quite a few years ago, it hit me what I have been given—the responsibility, the honor, and the obligation it is, and at the same time, what devotion and adherence it requires. It was a moment of dedication and a feeling of solidification, a feeling of destiny having a say, and a feeling of being a pawn in life’s game.”

How do you stay present?
“I don’t really. I fly away constantly and then fly back again immediately. But I do try! I try to stay mindful, and when I can, I embrace peace, void, space, and silence.”

Karl Monies

What are you most proud of?
“My kids, my girlfriend, and my work—in that order.”

What excites you most about the future?
“That I have a say. That I have the potential to shape it into what I want it to be. It excites me to be able to impact the world for the better. I get excited about the things that I have not begun yet, but that will define me, the people around me, and what we do. I can get excited about potential collaborations and all the projects waiting to be worked on. I have a hard time not getting excited about the future. It’s ours. Let’s make it good.”

@monies_official

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