Artist Interview: Darryl Becenti
Posted on June 14, 2013
Darryl Becenti recently took some time to talk with Bonecutters.
Bonecutters: When and where were you born?
Darryl: I was born in Mexican Springs, New Mexico on June 2, 1957.
Bonecutters: Please tell us about your school experiences.
Darryl: I graduated from Tohatchi High School, after that I enrolled at Navajo Architectural in Fort Defiance, Arizona. I dropped out after a year, I didn’t like drafting.
Bonecutters: Well, for all the fans of your work, we are happy you didn’t pursue a career in architecture! After leaving architecture school what did you do?
Darryl: I then got a job with Navajo Engineers operating heavy equipment. I worked in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. I did that for twenty years.
Bonecutters: How did you begin to silversmith?
Darryl: In 1985 I was hanging out with Dave Reeves and he showed me some work he was doing in silver. He gave me some pieces of copper and told me to start stamping. I was also doing sand paintings and sketching with pencils, so right away I liked working with stamps and making jewelry.
Bonecutters: How did you start working with Eric at Bonecutters?
Darryl: I started working with Eric and mainly getting orders for lots of earrings. I continued to make pieces for him and learning how to do better work.
Bonecutters: What to enjoy in your spare time?
Darryl: I enjoyed sports all through high school, participating in football, track, and baseball. I support my kids in their sports activities and I sponsor a softball team that my son plays on.
Bonecutters: Can you tell us about your family?
Darryl: I have eight sisters and two brothers. One sister and one brother have passed away.
Bonecutters: What other artists do you admire?
Darryl: I have always admired Robert Becenti, he is a painter. I also admire David Reeves, for taking the time to show me how to do what I have learned to love.
Bonecutters: Have you won any awards for your work?
Darryl: I have taken numerous ribbons at the Gallup Ceremonial and Santa Fe Indian Market.
Bonecutters: How would you describe your work?
Darryl: My style is “old style”, I enjoy doing bump out work and that is what I am known for. I can make anything, but I make mostly bracelets.
Bonecutters: Do you make your own tools?
Darryl: I make a lot of my own tools, but some I have other guys make for me.
Bonecutters: Are any of your children interested in following in your silversmithing footsteps?
Darryl: At this time my children are not interested in silversmithing.
Bonecutters: How long have you worked with Eric Bonecutter?
Darryl: I have been working with Bonecutters going on thirty years now.
Bonecutters: What changes have you seen in the business over the years?
Darryl: The biggest change I have seen is the type of jewelry I make. I can do almost anything , and it sells as before. When I first started all I did was earrings and small items. Now I like to make concho belts, bracelets and rings. I like trying to come up with new stamp out designs.
Bonecutters: We love all your work, all of your pieces show your skills and that you love your work. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Any parting comments you would like to share?
Darryl: I hope to be around a long time, hammering out pieces for others to enjoy.