WOMEN IN ART

‘Everyone needs a Little Sidekick’

Whimsical jewelry companions for every age, background

C.J. Bognar and her dog Beau.
Photo
By JULIA GROCHOWSKI
Posted
It’s a funny story how Little Sidekicks came about ... [It] started when I made a tiny, beaded bunny for my sister’s Easter basket … They got such a great response I decided to make some tiny jewelry people to join my handcrafted jewelry line, and that is how Little Sidekicks were born.”

Local artist C.J. Bognar has a simple yet inspiring goal: to make people smile. Using her artistic talents, Bognar spreads this message through her charming and unique Little Sidekicks.

“In a world is so full of turmoil, I try to bring a little whimsy through my Little Sidekicks,” Bognar said.

Each of the Little Sidekicks are carefully handcrafted miniature figurines of people made out of jewelry. They can range anywhere from historical figures and pop culture icons to mythical beings and ordinary folk. Small and lightweight, they are designed to be carried around as a necklace, earrings or charm. They can always be personalized.

“It’s a funny story how Little Sidekicks came about,” Bognar said. “[It] started when I made a tiny, beaded bunny for my sister’s Easter basket… They got such a great response I decided to make some tiny jewelry people to join my handcrafted jewelry line, and that is how Little Sidekicks were born.”

She began selling the Little Sidekicks in her boutique, CJ’s Talk of the Town, which she has since closed. But her works can still be found and bought online and at various local art festivals. “With my Little Sidekicks, my ideas are boundless,” Bognar said. “You’re sure to find one depicting your passion. Look at the details and try to figure out what they represent.”

Bognar, a jewelry designer and painter, is a self-taught artist who first leapt into the art scene when she became an advocate for endangered species. The plight of the elephants and the ivory trade especially captured her attention. Her first pieces were paintings of elephants in a bright red, a “warning color.”

These artworks were entered in numerous art shows throughout New York, allowing her to raise awareness and funds for conservation groups. The red, now a signature for Bognar’s style, is the only color she will paint elephants.

“As an artist and an animal lover, I care deeply about the plight of elephants in today’s world,” Bognar said. “As civilization expands in Africa, try to imagine how difficult it is for these beautiful creatures to be confined to a smaller and smaller territory…An estimated 35,000 elephants were poached in Africa in 2014 and 2015.”

Even today, she continues this fight, and continues to accept donations on her website to help the African Wildlife Foundation. Each donation receives a greeting card with one of Bognar’s elephant paintings. Additionally, through Dec. 31, 10 percent of the proceeds from any of her artwork sales will be donated.

She has since expanded to the world of jewelry making and hasn’t looked back.
“Designing and creating unique jewelry is part of my artistic journey,” Bognar said. “There is no better feeling for an artist as when their creativity is flowing.”

To learn about Bognar, her works and helping conserve elephants, visit littlesidekicks.com. ■

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Hope Knosher of Johns Creek healed her mind and body through yoga, and now teaches others through Hope’s Yoga. Read more page 8.


 

 

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