Designer and artist Jordan Askill creates small wearable sculptures of endangered species, sparking a conversation around the conservation of species that are in need of protection. After completing a fashion design degree in Sydney, Askill moved to London in 2000 where he interned with the late, great Alexander McQueen. In 2004, Askill joined the design team at Dior Homme for four years before creating his eponymous jewellery brand: Jordan Askill.

In 2019 Askill moved home to Sydney to study Marine Biology at UTS and bridge the gap between the creative and conservation worlds. As a researcher, Askill uses this knowledge to add depth and detail to his work, giving a voice to the endangered species that feature at the center of his work. When asked how he sees creativity helping the conservation cause, Askill says, “I feel that as well as opening up our minds, creativity can also assist with wider conversation and accessibility to a wider audience and the introduction of new ideas.”

Photography by Alice Wesley-Smith

Tell us about where your interest and love for nature and wildlife came from.
“I have a memory of being in New York, about two years old on the street and holding tight onto a soft animal toy, never letting it go. Ever since I was young, I felt I could connect to animals, from goldfish, wild birds, visiting farms, to small pets, animal statues, ornaments and in books. I felt I could whisper to them, and we could understand each other. They triggered a sort of safe space for me. A place, a world we could go be completely free. I suppose the symbol of an animal was the conjugate that took me to a creative space. It has always been like that for me.”

What was the first species of animal you designed?
“I first worked with the movement of a horse. This movement and musical repetitiveness of a gallop help me lock into a special place. It was this majestic feeling for me that helped create a completely new free world.”

Horse Wave, 2011, Jordan Askill

What first sparked your interest for endangered species?
“My parents raised me as a vegetarian, so I suppose this was a starting point to understand that we should all care for each other.  The idea of preciousness and always protecting each other was always there, and this feeling just led me to understand that there were so many species that that were not researched, understood or protected and that there were other species were being taken advantage of. So much so, that their population numbers in the world were declining. It was almost like a slow realization from when I was young.” 

When designing, what is your favourite part of the process?
“The most useful part of the design process for me is to translate the animal by researching it, and collecting images of it, and reinterpreting it in a very realistic way. Then I begin to morph the shape in an understanding and hyper real sense.”

Do you have a favourite material to sculpt with?
I conceive a new shape in a 2D way. Drawing, taking images of a realistic entity and then morphing the shape. I like to see the end result, as an animation interpretation, a static image or realized in gold with precious stone or hand carved elements.”

Double Shark Ring, 2018, Jordan Askill

You came back to Australia to study Marine Biology, what prompted this desire to dive deeper into the natural world?
“All my jewellery collections were on precious, majestic or vulnerable under-researched species. I had always seen my work as a direct connection to environmental phenomena that helped to give animals a sense of immortality. I felt out of respect, and so I could be of assistance to them, I had to understand them as much as I could.” 

What species are you investing your time researching at the moment?
“At the moment I am focused on the marine family of Syngnathidae. This includes seahorses, seadragons and pipefish. The seadragon is endemic to Australia and in need of more focus, understanding and research. It looks so beautiful and other worldly, populations are found along our coastline of our southern reef, and its reproduction system is unique as the males carry and nurture the eggs. I am sure there is lots we can understand from them.”

National Geographic Magazine, June 1978, featuring
seadragons endemic to Australia

What makes this creature special?
“The way it moves, how it communicates, its world that is more or less secret to us, and the fact that its existence in lots of ways is dependent on how humans live and behave.”

How do you feel creativity can help the conservation of endangered species?
“I feel creativity helps to see the world differently. Then the end goal would be once we see the world differently, we can act in it in different ways. Creativity helps by brining to the surface notions and ideas so people can now think about these in a deferent context. The fact that things can be focused on in a hyper-real way means that ideas, and in this case a ‘species’ can be thought about in a positive renewed light.”

What is your hope for the future?
“My hope for the future is ‘care for others’ we need to be aware of this every second of every day, and for all species. All species are precious.”


Shop now

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float.

To gain all while you give.

To roam the roads of lands remote.

To travel is to live."

Hans Christian Andersen, Author.