Photos by G (except where noted). All art by Mark Kostabi.
Last night, I had the great fortune of meeting artist Mark Kostabi. When we spoke, he mentioned that he’d be playing a free gig tonight at his own Kostabi World studio in Chelsea. The gig was a warm up for a show that he and his band, The Mark Kostabi Group are playing at Iridium Jazz Club in Manhattan on May 26, 2011. What follows next is the story of an evening of epic proportions. The night is May 18, 2011. It’s pouring rain. I started off my evening with an extremely negative encounter meeting RuPaul at an in-store appearance. More to come on that story, so stay tuned. Undaunted by the night’s events and the terrible weather, I made it to Kostabi World (located at 514 West 24th Street) at the stroke of 8 pm when The Mark Kostabi Group began playing. Kostabi World, if you’ve never been inside, is amazing. It’s filled with Mark Kostabi’s art and there are paintings, paint supplies and books everywhere, yet all organized in an extremely creative and inviting environment.
Towards the back of the studio space, you find the set where Mark Kostabi’s TV Show, The Kostabi Show is filmed. The band played there in front of an intimate crowd of around 100 people with dark lighting to get the audience in the mood for some great music. Right before the set, an announcement was made that we were encouraged to hang out at Kostabi World after the show was over for food and drinks. To thank us all for coming, we were all given a free CD of The Mark Kostabi Group’s new album “The Spectre of Modernism” which has just been released!
After the set was over, Mark Kostabi was so gracious to sign autographs and talk with everyone who approached him. He remembered me from last night (which was amazing in and of itself), and I got to correct the fact that I forgot to mention to talk to him about Whittier, California (where he grew up and I graduated from college). He was so cool. He told me about the upcoming release of “Jedermann,” a program that examines his 25 plus year career. We had a really great conversation and from talking with him, you can tell that Mark Kostabi is a person that enjoys life. He is definitely grateful for the amazing experiences he’s had and he was very generous to make sure everyone at Kostabi World was having a great time.
Mark gave me permission to post photos for those that might not live in New York and get the chance to experience Kostabi World, which was so nice of him. The night could have ended there and still been one of the best experiences you could hope for, but instead, Mark Kostabi gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to take an exclusive sneak peak at a painting he is currently working on!!!
Nights like this are the reason I moved to New York and I am so thankful to Mark Kostabi and everyone at Kostabi World for really making this an evening I’ll never forget.