PRESS SNAP: Our designers Adrian and Kai Schachter feature in Vogue Italia
Turn to page to 77 and 78 of Vogue Italia's latest issue and you'll find our emerging designers Adrian and Kai Schachter making an exciting feature. With particular focus on their involvement in the New York art scene, the article discusses Adrian and Kai's shared home of artistic influence, living alongside roommates Rafik Greiss and Caio Twombly. Talking motivations, inspiration and experiences growing up with such highly art-oriented backgrounds, you can read what the boys had to say in the repurposed article below.
Note: This article has been translated from Italian to English and repurposed for Rich Fashion Magazine.
On Our Own Way
By Samira Larouci
In a time in which many artists are leaving New York in favour of more affordable working spaces – in Mexico City and in the North of New York’s State – some may be mourning the death of NY Lower East Side’s artistic scene. It might be fair to believe, even though mistakenly, that the Big Apple has lost its bounce.
In fact, right now at the heart of Bowery, there are a group of artists and curators, all legacy of known art personalities, experimenting with new approaches to art production and appreciation.
Curator Caio Twombly, photographer Rafik Greiss and artists Kai and Adrian Schachter, have created a fluid creative incubator in their shared house/working space: a space where they live, hang-out, party, paint and discuss their own ideas. Ideally located only two minutes’ walk from the New Museum, their shared space is big enough to allow room for everyone's privacy.
“We are like different branches of the same tree,” says Adrian Schachter, 22 years old, who shares the space with his younger brother Kai. Sons of dealer, curator and artist Kenny Schachter, and artist and fashion designer Ilona Rich, Adrian and Kai have grown up in a house with no white walls. In fact, each wall, even the nursery’s, was covered with art from their parents’ collection. Arguments were mainly focused on artworks their father Kenny would have liked to sell. “Once Kai made a scene when my father sold a Dan Colen’s painting made with bird’s excrements, which has been hanging in his room for years,” Adrian remembers.
Adrian’s work focusing on plastic supports artificiality using humid pastels and layers of coloured acrylic, which can get up to 15 cm thick blurring the lines between painting and sculpture. It is playful as much as it is complex. On the other hand Kai’s style is experimental in the way it juxtaposes pigments and pastels with layers of oil paint in order to represent – in an abstract or more literal way – homages to advertising, clip-art and signography. “I get inspiration from nature. When I am surrounded by it, I appreciate the beauty and forms created by Mother Earth,” says Kai. “However, I also found inspiration in advertisement posters pasted on street bins as well as in the pop and colourful images glued next to any New York bodega.”
As they have all lived sporadically between London and New York, it is natural for the group to make comparisons between the two most important capitals of the contemporary art scene. “The artistic scene in London is much more elitist”, says 20 year old photographer Rafik Greiss. “New York is much more open and attractive for emerging youngers." Having grown up in Egypt during the revolution and with his mum being a photographer, Rafik tells how the turbulent political atmosphere has been determining his choice to pursue a photographic career. “When she was working on one of her projects, she would take me with her, enabling me to witness the reality of difficult contexts such as psychiatric hospitals. When the revolt erupted she took me out to photograph streets filled with tear gas and the resonance of shot guns echoing in the air.” It was at that time that Rafik truly understood the power of photography. “For the first time I have been dragged out of my comfort zone and this approach is what keeps on inspiring me in my job.”
To have inherited entire generations’ art knowledge simply augments these artists’ motivations to pursue their mission. As Kai emphasises: “People go to galleries determined to hate my works as they believe they are on display due to my father. This has now become an excellent stimulus to push me further and show that I am serious about my work, regardless of family name.”
In the three years they have lived together, the four have put together six group shows in New York and one in London, all curated by Caio. “Since I am still young, it is quite hard for me to be considered an expert in anything,” jokes the 22 year old curator and Tatiana Franchetti’s nephew, Cy Twombly. Despite his heritage, art has not fascinated him straight away. Thinking back on his childhood in Rome, Caio remembers one time when he broke a little Yves Klein’s frame while playing football. “My dad didn’t take it that well,” explains Caio; “Paradoxically, I’ve started getting interested in art only after I’ve left home, when art wasn’t surrounding me any longer." Eager to use his knowledge and contacts to reach out for new artists and present them to the public, Caio has curated group shows – many of which included Kai, Adrian and Rafik’s works – that showcased pieces by emerging artists together with established ones, like Oprah Shemesh, Lily Gavin and Luca Grottoli. About the collective, he says: “At home, everyone gets inspired at different times: hence to loaf about isn’t a conceivable option. We encourage one another in a healthy form of competition. We are learning together to appreciate art as well as understanding each other’s art."