In His East Williamsburg Studio, Artist Vladislav Markov Makes 3D Prints, Pounds Coffee, and Plays a Single Song on Repeat
The artist is preparing work for an installation at NADA House in September with New York's Management gallery.
Multimedia artist Vladislav Markov (b. 1993) doesn’t take a transformation halfway. The artist had his debut exhibition “Eight Feet Under” with New York gallery Management last fall and turned the downtown gallery’s exhibition space into a gray utilitarian box, covering the walls with perforated pinboard and the floors with gray carpeting. For the artist, this decidedly banal backdrop conjured the concrete architecture of his post-Soviet childhood and served as the peculiarly impersonal background for his paintings and sculptures which—through his use of scanners, 3D printers, and imaging technology—suggest the detached aura of hospitals, medical labs, and offices.
Markov keeps a studio in a bare-bones East Williamsburg building that might not have the niceties of say…decent insulation. But the price is right and big enough to house his collection of 3D printers. Over nearly eight years in the space, Markov has carved out a surprisingly welcoming studio in the building. At the moment, Markov is busy preparing new work for an installation at NADA House on New York’s Governor’s Island in September. He recently offered us a peek inside his studio, where he spends days with his dog and his beloved Nespresso machine.
Tell us about your studio. Where is it, how did you find it, what kind of space is it, etc.?
My studio is in East Williamsburg. I’ve had it on and off for about eight years now…it was sitting empty while I was in graduate school at Cornell. My landlord really likes me so I was able to have it back once I returned to New York. The space has a 1960s Tribeca vibe to it—poor electrical, no air circulation, and no insulation—but it’s cheap so I can’t complain too much. I found the space on Craigslist and it didn’t even have an image…just the size and price.
How many hours do you typically spend in the studio, what time of day do you feel most productive, and what activities fill the majority of that time?
About 6–8 hours every day. I tend to physically make things in the morning and later in the evening. Daytime is for getting materials and doing work in front of a screen. But if I have a deadline I am here for a few days without leaving.
What is the first thing you do when you walk into your studio (after turning on the lights)?
I always wash my hands first. Put on my studio clothing, walk over to my Nespresso machine…smoke a cigarette.
What are you working on right now? Please send us a few smartphone shots of a work in progress—or photos of different works in various states of completion—in a way that you think will provide insight into your process.
I am currently working on a few projects at the same time. I need to finish work for NADA house Governors Island which will take place in September, a large-scale outdoor installation in Utah with Final Hot Desert in spring 2024, which requires a lot of planning and preparation, and my first solo show in China at SIMULACRA.
What tool or art supply do you enjoy working with the most, and why? Please send us a snap of it.
I like my 3D printers. They are not fancy but have a relatively large bed for the price. And I give an honorable mention to my coffee machine.
What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when you work? Is there anything you like to listen to/watch/read/look at etc. while in the studio for inspiration or as ambient culture
Every device that I own that can play music is set on replay and yes music turns on while the coffee is pouring. I always listen to one song on repeat for about a week. After a day or two this sound becomes my silence. You really get to know a track after listening to it for a week. And it’s not restricted to techno…I do this with anything from rap, grime, soundtracks, and even/especially Steve Reich.
When you feel stuck while preparing for a show, what do you do to get unstuck?
I do something that doesn’t directly involve art. Could be as simple as taking my dog upstate for a long walk, going to an area in New York that I don’t normally spend time in, or getting in a drunk fight at a bar. I think the goal is to feel something else. Living a routine life can kill thoughts and motivation. It’s very important to see things and feel different ways to be able to come back to the studio and have a new day every day.
What images or objects do you look at while you work? Do you have any other artists’ work in your studio? If so, please share a phone pic and tell the story behind it.
Carl Ostendarp was my professor in grad school and he gave me one of his works as a graduation gift. It’s a shadow puppet painting of John F. Kennedy. I have it stored because I don’t really like having other people’s work visible around me when I work. I know where this painting is in my studio and I can easily picture it in my head and that is good enough for me.
What’s the last museum exhibition or gallery show you saw that really affected you and why?
I closely follow Schinkel Pavillon and SIMIAN. I don’t know of any spaces in New York that put up these types of shows and probably that explains why I am drawn to that. Taylor Ashby Hawkins’s show at No Place Gallery looks fantastic. I am attracted to work that doesn’t fit in an average size Upper East Side elevator.
Where do you get your food from, or what do you eat when you get hungry in the studio?
I order cheap Japanese food made by Ecuadorian guys from Seamless.
Is there anything in your studio that a visitor might find surprising?
The contrast between the exterior of the building, its hallway, the steep second-floor walk-up, and the clean gray box I made over the years of being here. Oh and this guy a floor above me sneezes very loudly.
What is the fanciest item in your studio? The most humble?
My inflatable Intex couch and my dog CYBR.
How does your studio environment influence the way you work?
That’s very important. I used to spend 20 minutes looking for one tool because the studio was a mess. Now I use commercial-grade Steelton storage shelves. Why settle for a chaotic mess when you can transform your studio into a well-organized haven?
Describe the space in three adjectives.
Summer: hot, desolate, loud. Winter: dry, gray, grimy.
What’s the last thing you do before you leave the studio at the end of the day (besides turning off the lights)?
I always check for my keys. I only have one pair. This reminds me I need to get another set made.
What do you like to do right after that?
Sometimes I like to get a drink at Fanelli’s and walk home from there.
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