“In Thailand I have Buddhism and in Los Angeles I have Rock N’ Roll.” This is the mantra of Chatchawan Thanalertvisuti, CEO of Deific Jewelry, who has overcome hardship and heartbreak to become the designer of a hauntingly beautiful exclusive jewelry line for men. I am interviewing Chuck, as he prefers to be called, at the Grammy’s gifting suite, where the stars are lining up to view Deific’s striking pieces; Johnny Depp, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and even the guys from Guns N’ Roses stopped by to take a peek.
Small wonder there is ever-increasing interest in this stunning collection, the product of intense creativity and fine old-world craftsmanship. Clearly Deific’s jewelry is a labour of love with every piece completely handcrafted. The motifs for the pieces are other-worldly, conjuring up strange deities, noble warriors, Zen wisdom, Rock N’ Roll lifestyle, and the essences of fascinating world cultures. Such disparate influences bespeak the life of the designer of this line of jewelry, who has triumphed over a childhood of abandonment, cruelty, and disruption and used his experiences to fuel his creative outpourings.
Chuck has vivid memories of his childhood. When his mother was pregnant with him in Thailand, his father left the family and returned with another wife and child, just as his mother was about to deliver him. At two, his mother left him, and he had to fend for himself. After living with different relatives, he wound up with his stepmother, and then the terror really began, especially the horrific dreams at night, which featured strange beings and visions. Chuck thought everyone had such dreams, but when he realized he was alone in having these particular visions, he was deeply disturbed. He sought relief from the hell of his daily life and the nightly torments of his dreams by visiting Buddhist temples in his native country and turning to drawing. He was later to use his dreams to visualize his designs and his drawing skills to convey his mental images. Adversity was to power his imagination and lead to the development of his designing talent. But, as yet, he was still developing, and he went to study in England for a year with his aunt, and this began his fascination with cultures of the world. However, he did not have a good relationship with his aunt either so he went to live with his father, who was now living in the United States. Again, familial problems arose and it was not until three years later that he was finally able to escape his father’s domination and tyranny. He ended up attending the University of California at Riverside, where he studied fine art and graduated in 2005. He had learned that the best way to take revenge was through success, and he was determined to have some.
Deific was born in 2008 out of the fire of Chuck’s creativity. Inspired by the Rock N’ Roll life in Los Angeles, he decided to translate his childhood nightmares with their strange entities and floating deities into jewelry designs – hence the company name, Deific. He designed and handcrafted one of a kind custom sterling silver jewelry whose original style and high quality reflected his obsession with perfection. In Thailand, Deific jewelry is worn by many of the country’s film stars and rock n’ roll figures such as Bodyslam, Big Ass, and Potato. The brand started out serving exclusive clientele, including famous stars, high profile individuals, and jewelry enthusiasts, but now will expand to the general public, because Chuck’s art is his communication with the world.
Chuck’s recreation of his dreams in his jewelry designs has enabled him to control his nightmares, his fears, and his life. This, along with the perspective he has gained from Buddhism and the inspiration he has garnered from Rock N’ Roll, enabled him to position Deific as one of the hottest up and coming high-end brands. Deific is a trendsetter in cutting edge design, miniaturizing Chuck’s hand drawn artworks of daring originality into intricate jewelry designs, which are realized with razor-sharp attention to the smallest details. Utilizing silver, gold, and platinum, as well as precious and semi-precious gems, Deific designs are backed by a lifetime warranty as a sign of trust and seal of excellence.
“By doing jewelry everyone can have my art,” says Chuck. “I just focus on the images and my jewelry takes shape.”
He gets his inspiration from traveling, culture, and art; Los Angeles is his rock castle — hard, solid, and powerful — and Bangkok is his haven — soft, flowing, and meditative. He has a boutique and workshop in Bangkok but plans to open a shop in Los Angeles in the near future.
“I would draw instead of talk when I was young. I couldn’t communicate well, because of the way I was treated as a child,” Chuck says. He likes and finds both inspiration and comfort in the band Oasis: “They have this free spirited, adventurous, and majestic sound, which provided me with a guiding light throughout my troublesome youth.” Today he practices Zen Buddhism and tries to surround himself with good people, meditate, and be in tune with nature. If he wants to overcome difficulties with a particular design, he sleeps on the ideas and relies on his now restorative dream visions to complete the process.
“Everything is done by hand, there are absolutely no machines used in the making of Deific’s jewelry,” Chuck says. “If you do everything by hand then you have that creative energy flowing through you.” Indeed, Chuck is involved with every step of the process, from designing to crafting. He casts his jewelry using the lost wax technique, a process by which a duplicate metal structure is cast from the original; he is a master of the process and uses it to produce his intricate designs.
Chuck — artist, designer, and craftsman extraordinaire — has a plethora of ideas for expansion, including geometric designs and a women’s line. Considering his childhood, the future looks wonderful to Chuck, with many unique and wonderful creations ahead.
Be inspired and never give up – this is Chuck’s advice on life, and he has put it into practice in his own life. He has overcome the nightmare of his childhood and used his experiences as well as the cultures and customs of the world to create visions in the form of jewelry, which he wants to share with all; his jewelry is his contribution to art and the world.
So, this self-taught master, who draws and designs straight from the heart, wants everyone to have access to his art and jewelry; that would be his greatest pleasure.