New York City wreaks of multi-dimensional radiant beings who channel their ideas through various mediums. Hell, to our credit, it is arguable that we’ve given this planet entire GENRES of art and music alone. This month, WTP had the pleasure of capturing New York artist Dmitry Byalik, at the WTP local headquarters: Avenue B’s dimly lit whiskey bar “Idle Hands,” for an introspective look at his unique leather sculpture creations and macabre fashion collection. The focal piece featured is entitled “God of the Underworld,” and rightfully so- as some like ourselves might perceive this 3 dimensional physical world as an actual purgatory, or underworld here on earth. However, it has been said that “only through darkness, will we reveal light.” Behold! WTP is proud to expose you to the hauntingly charming genuis of Dmitry Byalik, in this casual interview, and images from our exclusive photo shoot (which he agreed to do only if his work was captured in the remote woods somewhere in New York City).
Lex: At first glance, all of your work in it’s entirety, certainly encapsulates a morbid, yet beautiful poetic energy. The pressures, expectations and demands of this city can make one have a very dark, bleak outlook on life. What exactly was your inspiration for this piece (God of The Underworld)? Did New York City inspire it in any way?
Dmitry: What Inspires me to do what I do is this: pretend that you can fly, and you’re flying far above the world and experiencing different/mixed emotions about what you see- like you see WAR that’s been going on for God knows how long between countries. You see car crashes with dead people inside. You see people shot on the streets. You see people get blown up by others, in life and on television- in the news… You see airplane crashes. You see planes fly into buildings and many are dead. I can go on and on. The point is this I say: there are two wolves fighting inside of every person, one wolf is good- all the happiness, all the smiles, all good stuff that’s in you. The second wolf is bad all the anger, all the sadness, etc. The wolf that wins is the wolf that you feed. Many people in the world feed the bad wolf. So the world inspires me to create dark art. This is their god: “the god of the underworld”.
Lex: I love your answer man, BEAUTIFUL. I mean, not beauty in the actual deaths and unfortunate events, but its beautiful I feel, how you interpret these grotesque things that are a reality of this physical world, and you channel them through your creative vision to give the world something admirable and beautiful- iconic even. That’s a common philosophy of many cultures, the wolf thing. Many of the unfortunate events that arise in our physical world come about from the very lowest level of emotion = fear. Fear, coupled with insecurity, and doubt, and whatever other negative qualities humans have in them contributes to some hell on this earth, man. I’m with you. Definitely.
So, is this all leather, or is there other media involved?
Dmitry: It is completely made out of genuine leather. I used cow, deer and lamb hides as well as other media like acrylic paint. Comparing and researching traditional methods of molding and shaping leather, I came up with a new method of molding and manipulating leather. I studied ancient methods in historical time periods where they would apply certain techniques in sculpting leather to construct armor for warfare, weaponry and things like that- and I developed my own technique from that.
Lex: How long did it take to materialize this piece from the initial idea to the completion?
Dmitry: it took me about 3 to 4 weeks to make this piece. I do not plan or sketch or document any of my ideas. They are all in my head from a to z.
Lex: That’s fucking BRILLIANT. REALLY. I love free association. I’m somewhat of a charming psychotic, actually, and I think the same way. I never write anything down. Even this interview is being recorded for later ha ha ha. Prince’s father in Purple Rain never wrote anything down either. Who has the time?
I’m not so sure if there is a fool-proof “formula” to anything in life, except DEATH . . . There is certainty in death of the finite being. I’m glad you can find a creative avenue for all the horror that you’ve seen around in the world. You could’ve ended up like the guy from Saw (laughing dementedly). With that said, can you tell us your complete background involving art & design?
Dmitry: I have a degree from the Art Institute of New York City for Fashion Design womenswear. When I went to school, all I wanted was . . . to create. I like the process of making clothes but when it gets to selling them or whatever I do not like the paper work process. So once I learned how to sew and make patterns, I started to experiment with fabric and designs but something wasn’t right- it wasn’t mine! I started to work with leather, and that’s when I got into moldings on clothes, like that jacket I showed you. I did a few custom pieces. After that, I moved on to handbags. When I graduated fashion school I never pursued fashion. I don’t like the idea of working for someone and living THEIR dream.
I started making art because art is a freedom of speech and I am my own boss. Ive been into art since I was a very young man. It is in me. I started with leather since I’ve done big research on leather. I also work with other medias too. I did leather consulting for artists like Rebecca Watson and young designers like Charlie Haddad.
Lex: I can totally relate. YOU are a true artist, brother. You DID then earn your degree in fashion design, but right now you’re just opting to express yourself as an artist doing installation pieces. I support that. The bags you’ve done, and the jackets . . . I would like to discuss that. Tell us about the bags and the jacket. Do you currently have any collaborations with any boutiques or fashion houses?
Dmitry: Its happening really soon… I’m talking to many designers. I make bags mostly but it is still art, wearable art. I have orders… Like my next design is a molded leather cow skull backpack. Also, I’m almost done with my second art installation piece.
Lex: Have you got any gallery exhibitions coming up where we can see your work displayed in NY, or any works in progress?
Dmitry: I am currently working on other pieces that I will be showing hopefully at the end of summer 2012. One of them will be with flies and that’s all I can say. I will find the location to have it shown when I’m done. I don’t plan things. I do it as I go. That’s it.
Lex: From the God of the Underworld, and even in your fashion, I can see there is certainly a visible pattern. I would say you’re sort of either a dark person in your thoughts, or suffering over your existence here as a mortal- as in questioning the existence of life on earth . . . or am I just way too out of my mind. I don’t mean suffering in a Sylvia Plath sort of way, but more like a Chris Cornell, or like James Helfield’s lyrics in “…And Justice For All” sort of way or like in “Blackened” where he says, “Blackened! To begin whipping dance of the dead! Blackened is the end!!!” I love that.
Dmitry: I am definitely not suffering. I am happily married. I’ve been always into dark arts though, and if people see disgusting, I see beauty. I think different just like any artist. I have my own world that I will let people in very soon.
Lex: I can totally associate what I see here and what you’re describing, to me in your work, to maybe a David Lynch, The Brothers Quay, Svankmajer, or Adam Jones+Fred Stuhr (the director of many of TOOL’s famous videos) or Tim Burton . . . are you a fan of any of these artists and do they inspire you at all? Do you see yourself in a category like that as an artist? Who if anyone inspires YOU? Does music inspire you? Scrolling through your phone I can already see some of my OWN favorites already.
Dmitry: I get inspired by many horror movies, also other artists, and music too. Music is number one. My favorite is Marilyn Manson. He has been with me for many years. I also like Apocalyptica, Lamb of God and many others. I listen to classical music as well. My favorite artist is Chris Mars. I love his work… and any horror movie or a thriller that’s cool. Alexander McQueen has also played a big roll in my life. I watched his documentaries/ short films about him and he spoke and thought like an artist, dark artist not as a designer. I only listen or watch things that I know will inspire me. Otherwise I don’t pay attention.
Lex: Your God Of The Underworld piece looks like the beginning of a set design plan… Your garments are also slightly reminiscent of costume design for a Tim Burton film to me, in a good way. I can also almost picture the sculpture in Rob Zombie’s living room. Would you ever consider working with, or see yourself aspiring to work with anyone who I’ve mentioned on the sets of film or costume design or anything like that?
Dmitry: Yes I totally would love to work with others and collaborate on something we both mutually love, of course.
Lex: USUALLY we have a “20 questions theme here at WTP, where the FIRST 10 questions are purely professional, and the following 10 are a bit more cheeky and uncensored, sort of in the vain of a Howard Stern interview- but people were becoming afraid of our questions. They didn’t want to be the guinea pig in our premiere issue, but judging from the caliber of your work, and the FEARLESSNESS in it, we feel that we can ask you ONE random “Walk the Plank” question and here it is:
So… Living in New York, What do you think about New York public toilets, like restaurant / bar restrooms?
Dmitry: I love them when I have to go! Peace!
Lex: Thanks for your time Dmitry and we’ll catch up soon.
So there you have it planet earth. “Say hello to the night, lost in the shadows!”
Have a look at more of Dmitry’s designs and keep up to date with his events on www.Facebook.com/moldnyc