Lola Brooks began her arts education at Pratt Institute and then went on to study with Jamie Bennett and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray at SUNY New Paltz. In 1996 Lola was included in the Talente exhibition in Munich and since then has participated in many gallery and museum shows around the country including Sparkle then Fade at the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington. Lola’s use of stainless steel drives the conceptual content of the work and her underlying interest in material hierarchies. The Recipient of the Sienna Gallery Emerging Artist Award in 2002, Lola’s work has been reviewed and/or included in many publications including four of the Lark Books jewelry series; American Craft, Metalsmith, Out, W, Vogue and BlackBook magazines. Lola teaches at Rhode Island School of Design, and University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has also taught at SUNY New Paltz, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Her work can be found in the collections of the Samuel Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY, the Racine Museum of Art, Racine, Wisconsin, the Museum of Art and Design, NYC as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. In 2012 a piece from her most recent series, Charted Territories, was acquired by the Yale Gallery of Art, Yale University, New Haven CT.
‘In Nirvana’s Valentines’ scourge, the conventions of romantic love take on nightmarish tones, leaving Kurt Cobain’s narrator “trapped for weeks” in his lover‘s “Heart Shaped Box.” For most of her life, the jeweler Lola Brooks shared his fear. “Romantic clichés,” she says, “left a bad taste in my mouth.” And then, one day she fell in love with “romance.” She was finishing an exercise in a wax-carving class and realized she was taken with the “big juicy cleave” of the heart she had just carved. A hip-hop fan, Brooks humorously drew a parallel to JLo’s butt. She remains smitten, and since 2008, the tropes of love in their most obvious forms have overrun her work. There are roses on hearts, bows on hearts, hearts on hearts. Fragonard would be proud. In Sentimental Foolery, her latest series, blood-red garnets set in heart-shaped bezels dangle from heart-shaped brooches. Even the reviled bubblegum pink has crept into her aesthetic, in pink vintage rhinestones and erotic bows coated in Pepto-Bismol enamel. “Even though [they] are like empty shells, I think there’s always tasty cream to suck from them,” she told me. – From Mimi Luse’s article in American Craft, Hard Core Romance: The Jewelry of Lola Brooks, January 2010.