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 LarouciI

During a time when floods of young artists are moving out of NYC in favour of cheaper studio spaces in Mexico City and Upstate— and people are still mourning the death of the Lower Manhattan art scene—you might be mistaken for thinking that New York might have finally lost it’s edge.

But deep in the heart of the Bowery, a tight knit group of young artists and curators are trying to change that. Living in a shared (but sprawling) apartment-cum-studio space, curator Caio Twombly, photographer Rafik Greiss and artists Kai and Adrian Schachter have constructed a free flowing creative incubator (which practically stands in the shadows of the New Museum) for their practice. A space where the boys live, hang, party, paint and critique each other’s work.

“We are all kind of like different branches on the same tree” says 22-year-old Adrian Schachter, who shares the space with younger brother Kai. As the sons of American art dealer, critic, curator and artist Kenny Schachter, and artist turned fashion designer Ilona Rich, blank walls were a myth in their childhood home. Every wall, including their nursery, was covered in contemporary art from their parents ever-expanding collection, and arguments usually centred on pieces their dad would sell, “Kai once threw a full-blown tantrum when my dad sold a Dan Colen birdshit painting that had been in his room for years”, Adrian says.

His work—which taps in to the artificiality of plastic-based mediums, with pastel drenched, sculpture-like six-inch thick layers of acrylic paint—is playful but intricate.

Whilst Kai’s work is inherently experimental, juxtaposing archival Peruvian pigments and pastels with layered oil paints to depict—sometimes abstract, sometimes literal—homages to ads, clip art and signography.

“I’m inspired when I’m completely immersed in nature and can vigilantly study the beauty and lines created by mother earth” Kai says, “but I equally draw inspiration from promotional signs on trash cans and the popping images plastered on the side of a bodega in NYC”. 

Having all intermittently split their time between London and New York, the collective are quick to draw comparisons between the two major art capitals. “London’s art scene is a lot more elitist”, says 20-year-old photographer Rafik Greiss, “New York is more open and inviting to young upcoming artists”.

Raised in Egypt during the revolution (to a chemical engineer father and artist mother), Rafik recounts the turbulent political atmosphere as a defining point in his choice to move in to photography. “My mother use to drag me out to uneasy environments like mental hospitals when she was working on projects and as soon as the uprising started, took me out to photograph the streets where tear gas was emitted and gunshots were fired.” He says before adding that this is when he truly understood the power of photography, “it was the first time I was properly pulled out of my comfort zone, and this mentality continues to inspire my work”.

Having collectively inherited generations of art world knowledge, it would almost be too easy to throw around the word nepotism when considering their artistic output. However, this only feeds their motivation. “People walk into the gallery wanting to hate my work” Kai says, “They walk in thinking that the work is only there because of my father’s involvement in the art world as a whole. In a way it ends up being a good motivation to prove that I am serious about my practice”.

Having met roommate Caio Twombly outside a club in West London about five years ago, the foursome have lived together for three years and have since held six joint exhibitions in NYC and one in London (all curated by Caio). “Being so young, it’s hard to be an expert at just about anything,” says the 22-year-old curator, who comes from a long line of artists (Caio is the grandson of Cy Twombly and Tatia Franchetti). Given his bloodline, you’d think that the art world would’ve drawn him in from an early age, but that wasn’t exactly the case. Reminiscing on his childhood in Rome, where he spent the majority of his time at his father’s farm, located just outside of the city, he once broke the frame of a small Yves Klein whilst playing football. “My dad didn’t take it too well.” He says before adding, “I ironically only really got into [art] once I left the nest and didn’t have it around me anymore ”. 

Keen to use his understanding, access and platform to connect with and showcase upcoming artists, Caio’s group shows—many of which have been with Kai, Adrian and Rafik—have also bought together scores of upcoming and established artists such as Oprah Shemesh, Lily Gavin, and Luca Grottoli. “Everyone [in our apartment] is motivated at different times, and slacking off isn’t an option,” he says of the collective, “we each stimulate each other, it’s healthy competition. We’re all learning to understand art together, and from each other”. 

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