I was born and raised in NY on the upper west side in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a very different world then- edgier. I was very ready to leave to go to school, and be somewhere else- someplace safer and greener- so I first went to Vermont to study religion and found pottery instead. It was beautiful up there. No doubt it would be different now, but back then I felt like a fish out of water- very Jewish, very gay and very neurotic.
Over the years I lived in a couple of other places, Boston and Michigan, while I was in school. There was always a quality of things not feeling quite real, like I didn’t really fit or was on a different frequency- the anxiety frequency. Returning to the city felt like such relief- coming home. Funny because here people often think I’m from somewhere else.
Here the energy of just walking down the street holds me, interests me- in a way I don’t experience anywhere else. And more than being outdoors, I’ve always loved being inside, and New York has a wealth of amazing inside spaces- apartments, museums, churches, stores, parks, my studio the zendo- this is where I feel most comfortable, where my mind feels freer. Growing up, I spent a lot of time inside places with interesting objects, objects that allowed my mind to wander. This is how I first discovered the magical power of an object to transform one’s reality
And then of course there’s the diversity of people….and food…
Katie Yang's New York
When my father brought us to New York City on a diplomatic assignment in 1984, I was 14 years old, too young to understand his resolve in wanting his children to grow up here. All I cared about at the time was having to leave my friends behind and not speaking a word of English.
As I adapted to and thrived in my new environment, I acquired a cosmopolitan worldview imbued with possibilities and began to appreciate his motivation. While I can only speculate about the road not taken, I believe that I would have neither become a corporate attorney nor traveled widely had he not chosen to bring us to New York.
I never told my father how much I appreciated him for bringing me here. When I decided to quit my legal career to make art, I visited his grave to tell him. I think he would have been happy for me and proud of the person I have become.
Lana Kova's New York
I came to NY for the first time almost 10 years ago. I was a fashion model doing runways and photoshoots and every time I would come here for just a month or two months. But It felt like
I spend three or six months. New York always impressed me with it's energy and intensity. You feel people doing things, running somewhere, meeting, creating. It gives me a push to go further and do more but also to explore. In New York you can wonder into practically any culture and any professional field. You can easily meet people, find courses to pick up a new skill, find a community to embrace it. I felt right the way that nowhere else I have an opportunity for personal growth like in New York. Also nowhere else I can find such openness of people to new things.
There is a lot of competition but also lots of passion.
I didn't move to live in New York right the way. Modeling kept me traveling. After living in Berlin,Hamburg, London, Paris and Milan, in New York I feel most at home. It's an international city and I am an international person. Other cultures fascinate me, getting to know them broadens my way of thinking, and I want to belong to them somehow, to learn from them. In New York I can do it in its great museums, theaters and on the street.
Years of modeling taught me design and made me look at things as a surface and form. In fashion I am an object that is being designed. My skin , my shape is being enveloped. I think that made me aware of textures and surfaces of objects I create. The sensation you have of touch and look. I think of my ceramic glazes as of fabrics.