Allan Stuck has never been an avid follower of popular culture, but in the past few years, he’s started paying attention.
The Makanda jeweler has been a staple of the Southern Illinois art scene for decades, and his work has been finding its way to a different clientele. Represented by the Roseark gallery in West Hollywood, Stuck has become known as a go-to guy for the Los Angeles elite.
Pop music artist Pink wore one of his necklaces during a February 2010 appearance on Oprah’s television show, and celebrity bad girl Lindsay Lohan has been photographed by People magazine sporting Stuck’s designs. Brad Pitt also purchased a necklace as a gift for wife, Angelina Jolie.
“It’s a mixed feeling,” Stuck said. “Once you put your stuff at that level, you have to stay refined. But I’m so elated and so happy to be involved with that.”
Stuck’s jewelry is different than most on the red carpets of Hollywood. While he works with traditional materials like gold, silver and diamonds, he also adds more eccentric elements like petrified wood and authentic dinosaur bones to the mix.
These aspects of his work showcase his unique background, as well. Before pursuing metalsmithing and jeweling as a career, Stuck studied pre-med and zoology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Even after leaving school, he chose to follow science as a hobby and to incorporate it into his artistic style.
When guests come into Stuck’s nondescript studio in Makanda, the artist entertains them with stories of science and adventure related to the materials of his trade.
“They get a story whether they want it or not,” he said. “I’ve got stories. I just hope I don’t bore people, but they seem to be interested in what I’m telling them.”
Despite his success in Hollywood, he has no plans to pack up and move now or in the future.
“I came here from Chicago to go to school 50 years ago,” he said. “I never went back; I just love it here. I’m a Southern Illinoisan.”