Filed under: New York, Photography, Writing | Tags: Adrian Kondratowicz, Anycoloryoulike, Art, New York City, Pink, Polka-dotted, TRASH, Trash bags
By Dean Stattmann
If you’ve recently passed by Cite – the eclectic SoHo furniture store on Greene Street – you may have noticed a bright pink polka-dotted bag in the window. Rather than a special edition Lovesac, this is the work of up-and-coming Harlem-based artist Adrian Kondratowicz. Oh and it’s actually a trash bag. In 2008, with the vision of reuniting art with function, Kondratowicz created TRASH, a line of biodegradable polka-dotted trash bags. Made from a PVC liner scented to repel rodents and insects, the eye-catching eco-bags quickly got the attention of the press, giving Kondratowicz the exposure he needed to pursue more sizeable ventures. And now, on the eve of unveiling his latest project, he answers some questions about TRASH and how artists need to adapt their work for tough economic times.
What inspired TRASH?
I was originally thinking of getting some poster boards, renting out some ad space and running these posters that were pink with white polka dots and just tiling it really, really big. After finding out how expensive that was, I printed some out and started wheat pasting them, but then the thing with wheat pasting stuff illegally is that people tear it down as soon as they see it, or it just gets done over really quickly, so I needed something that was basic that would be there, but also that was not very ‘street,’ and for some reason the trash bag popped into my head and then I just imagined the whole street lined with them.
How did the project materialize?
I shopped it around all the art production companies, the non-profits and the private dealers and collectors, and everybody was very enthusiastic but nobody wanted to write me a cheque. So I wrote myself a cheque, put everything I had behind it and it worked out very well. It’s just a matter of planning and being organized. It’s like with everything else. It wasn’t really that hard to do. And also a bit of luck helps too.
How was luck involved?
Doing the right location at the right time and having the right people see it. It’s not like we promoted the thing. I have a small mailing list and the whole point of doing these things is to create awareness of some sort, whether it be for me, the project or the environment. It’s funny, like after two or three installations, everything went live on the web through the blogs and next thing you know TV stations are calling me and magazines are asking for press material and it was just like a snowball and it keeps on coming.
What was TRASH’s biggest victory?
Just getting it done, from having sketches to ordering the bags. Before I did the installations I had a series of promotional events with maybe 20 or 30 people installing the bags at various people’s homes and then actually putting them on the street. I guess that was the most exciting. That’s always the most exciting, when someone sees your work and reacts.
What do you do to give your art that mass appeal?
The way I conceptualize my stuff is I think of a concept visually and I try to integrate specific behaviors into it and obviously the most common is how do you make it so people can actually buy it or benefit from it. Why would they need this? Why should this be in their lives? I think that’s the new definition of art.
So, what’s next for you?
My next project is called “Paint by Numbers” and it involves the public and participation. It’s a project for community regeneration and it involves enrolling people and inviting people to participate in creating a community mural that’s made out of stickers and the fun part happens with me distributing the stickers. There are a couple different ways I’m going to do that, but I don’t want to get too deep into it. But it’s going to be really fun!
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: College, Music, New York, News, NYU, Photography, Writing | Tags: Dorm, Erik Michael, Guitar, Lafayette, Matt Golubjatnikov, Music, Musician, New York University, NYU, Recording
By Dean Stattmann
On a quiet Monday evening, a muffled cry emanates from the closed door of a New York University dorm room in downtown Manhattan. It’s the penthouse floor of Lafayette Street Residence Hall – one of the furthest from campus – where the university hides its Greek life. Echoes of grueling Guitar Hero solos and epic beer pong bouts bounce off these walls after hours. But amidst the Halo, hot wings and all the other accurate stereotypes, one student is ripping through the mold.
Matt Golubjatnikov, a politics major at NYU, has been playing guitar for seven years and is finally getting some attention. He spent his freshman year with NYU abroad in Florence, Italy, before finally moving into Palladium Hall on 14th Street. During his sophomore year, he pledged the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and kicked off his junior year with a spot in the frat’s spacious eight man duplex. But while most musicians with his talent move on to decked out studios with fountains in the lobby, a floundering economy has caused this junior to seek out alternative facilities, like his dorm room.
“Home recording has become incredibly accessible relative to past years,” he says. “If you have the patience and experimental interest to overcome the often steep learning curve that is inherent in today’s music software, then you can do basically anything.”
In 2008, Golubjatnikov, 21, got curious and decided to see where his music could take him. Working with a tight budget and a demanding schedule, he eventually opted for home recording equipment and slowly began to acquire the pieces of what would become an impressive home studio. One year, a semi-acoustic guitar, two effects pedals, professional recording software and a studio microphone later, he has filled his room with everything short of a waiting room, and he can still afford food. “It really surprises me what you can do with a thin wallet,” he says. “My whole recording rig from cables to software comes to a grand total of about 250$. I know more resourceful people that can even shave the amount to less than half of that.”
Starting out on Haight Street in San Francisco, C.A., with just his busted Crate amplifier and suave midnight wine Fender Stratocaster, Golubjatnikov found influences in early grunge bands and the better part of the 90s punk scene. He has since added to this list, finding a renewed appreciation for bands like Black Label Society, Incubus and Alice in Chains. He doesn’t know how to label his own music, but pegs it somewhere between hard and alternative rock. The stuff he finds himself playing traverses genres, he says.
But despite the unlikely evolution of Golubjatnikov’s dorm rock, he admits that recording in his makeshift studio – which he shares with a roommate – can sometimes present unusual problems. “You do come across unique obstacles when recording in a dorm versus a studio,” he says. “But all it takes is the creative mind that is a prerequisite anyway. When recording vocals, if I can’t get a good natural reverb or echo, I just record while standing in my shower. The ceramic walls provide a clean, non-manufactured effect. Problem solved.”
Golubjatnikov has released several tracks online under the name Spareluck, choosing social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook to bring his music to his friends and whoever else wants to listen. The reception has been outstanding, he says, and one of his tracks was recently featured in a beat by fellow New York-based producer Erik Michael.
Golubjatniokov may not have an album in the record store just yet, but he pays little mind to this. For him, the real pay-off is in the music. “I harbor no shame in saying that some days I will just put my own material on repeat on my iPod,” he says. “I mean, you make what you want to hear, so it’s natural to be your own biggest fan.”
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: Fashion, Lifestyle, New York, News, Photography, Special | Tags: Dean Stattmann, Fashion, Fashion Business Association, FBA, Kimmel Center, NYU, Spring
On April 4, New York University’s Fashion Business Association threw its first show of 2009 at the university’s Kimmel Center on Washington Square South. I wanted something a little more engaging than just photos this time so I hope this works…
Graphic by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: New York, Photography | Tags: Houston, Hudson Piers, New Jersey, New York, Photo essay, Photography
By Dean Stattmann
Filed under: Lifestyle, New York, Photography | Tags: Credit, Crisis, Dean, Downturn, Economic, Financial, Fired, Jobs, Lay-offs, Mortgage, Recession, Slowdown, Stattmann
Photo by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: Clips, NYU, Photography, Sport | Tags: All University Games, Coles, Front, Page, Sports, Washington Square News, WSN
On Tuesday, two of my photographs from NYU’s All University Games made it onto the pages of the Washington Square News. While the photo on the front page was cropped a little more than I would have liked (Original photos here), it’s been great to have two front pages in two weeks, and the fact that they included an additional photo on page 4 is just gravy.
Print may be dying, but there’s just something different about seeing your work on paper that evokes a certain kind of pride that pixels cannot produce.
Filed under: College, New York, News, NYU, Photography, Sport | Tags: College of Arts and Science, Dean, Foosball, Gallatin, Games, Inter, Inter University Games, Law, New York University, NYU, Referee, Sports, Stattman, Stattmann, Steinhardt, Stern, Sumo, Table Tennis, Tisch, University, Volleyball
Photos by Dean Stattmann