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An artist is a transformative being that breathes life into whatever they touch. A constantly moving force that is awe-inspiring to witness. Stefan Rurak has given birth to himself many times, as a traditional artist, a performance artist, and a woodworker. By creating items that have the same dualism as himself, he has helped New York with the Sandy Project and ensnared our eyes with his collections that will be featured in Chelsea this month. We speak to him about the idea of an artist and his journey as one.

Hi Stefan, what drew you into performance art?

I realized the photography is a conduit into performance. A post modern idea that stuck with me is that the only thing someone can take away from you is your life. If you metaphorically kill yourself, there is nothing anyone can take away from you. By killing myself through art, I was liberating myself. Those more extreme ideas were one of the many things that I was being exposed to through art.

What is your personal philosophy regarding art?

I think art is life and life is art. I am hugely inspired by Nietzsche and when I started to read him, I realized I can do anything I put my mind to. There is no excuse to be able to do anything you want. My view of art is to break down all barriers.

Why did you become such a global person?

My parents are not from this country so I was able to travel and visit by seeing blood relatives in different parts of the world.

How did you start to get into woodwork?

I was working on a photo shoot and I met a model there who was also a woodworker. A couple months later, he called me into his shop because he needed some help. That was my first time in a wood shop and everything clicked once I was inside. I realized one is making beautiful things that serve a real life function. A chair can do everything a painting can do and so much more. I found that a challenge and I decided this is where I wanted to put all my energy into.

Do you search for community projects or do you fall into them?

I started the project,  The Sandy Project. after hurricane Sandy, I was trying to figure out what could I do to help. I was in the unique position where I could take what was destroyed in the storm and save it from the garbage pile. This provided a second life for the items I salvaged. I gave part of the proceeds to a charity that would benefit the victims, The Mayor fund. It was a community project too. That was my first taste on how to use my skills for a more charitable way.

Can you explain how you became involved with the gallery, Kasher|Potamkin?

They came to my studio with the concept that every three months, they would provide a theme to react too. Every three months my work is going to be on display at Kasher Potamkin with my own take utilizing my craft. It is currently on show with the Gilded Forest: The Holiday Show exhibit.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to be seen as an artist. I would like to become more well known and move out of the city. Putting my furniture on display in an art gallery helps elevate my work.

WORDS
EMEM JAMES
PHOTOS
CARLA TRAMULLAS

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