Current Crush: Kelly Korzun
Anna Wolf here; founder and editor and chief of Tidal and Current Magazine. The whirlwind that was the past 2 years has had me reflecting on the importance of being surrounded by a supportive community with peers I can count on. With this in mind, I wanted to take a beat from our fashion stories and feature a different type of Girl Crush: Kelly Korzun. Kelly runs the curated art site, METAL & DVST. I met Kelly last year on a beautiful summer day in Park Slope. Being from Belarus, her story was naturally intriguing to me so I had to ask her everything from what led her to NY (spoiler: wanderlust) to what prompted her to embark on starting her own creative platform. Sitting outside of that playground, coffees in hand, we talked about travel, our beloved yet pesky industry, and of course, the meaning of life.
Written by: Megan Baldwin & Anna Wolf
Edited by: Emma Karp
Apr 12, 2022
METAL & DVST started as a side project, can you talk a little about how you evolved it into what it is today?
Ultimately, this whole thing has stemmed from a totally spontaneous endeavor and a London Grammar song. I’ve always been into jewelry, but it was hard to find minimalist and unique pieces back in the day because it was all about statement accessories, so I decided to create a limited hand-crafted collection with an architectural twist – that's how METAL & DVST was born. Growing up, I spent hours on end watching my father, a professional jazz guitarist, soldering electric guitars and custom amps. However, when it came to soldering jewelry, I still had to teach myself a lot, so I got “The Complete Metalsmith'' handbook, bought a bunch of equipment, and set up a studio in the basement. Once the collection was finished, I styled a lookbook and built a website, but I felt like it needed more content without turning it into a personal blog since I didn’t want to be in the limelight. I’ve always been fascinated by people’s stories and had experience writing for European publications, so incorporating original interviews with creatives seemed like more of a natural progression for me. Consequently, it led me to becoming a contributing editor at Musée Magazine, a New-York based photography publication founded by Andrea Blanch, who’s first client was American Vogue. Writing for a magazine that has featured so many major artists (Marina Abramovic, Tim Walker, and Nick Cave, just to name a few) felt surreal. Part of my job was covering art openings, which made me fall in love with the art scene of New York. Working alongside Andrea and growing as an interviewer was a truly invaluable experience, which gave me enough confidence to transform METAL & DVST into the independent art space it is today.
How would you best describe what you do daily to a stranger?
As a multidisciplinary creative working in both tech and art industries, this is the question I typically struggle with, but the most accurate description would be that I create digital experiences, products, and content, and I have just recently become a part of Dept Agency. I was born in Vitebsk, which now forms a part of Belarus, but it used to belong to the Russian Empire back in the day when Marc Chagall, El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich were shaping the history of the Russian avant-garde in a place nowhere near Russia’s main cities and museums. As a junior, I had a formal training in fine arts, but I was also obsessed with math, so I ended up getting a BA in Information Technologies with a major in web design and CG to accommodate both. I’ve been drawing and writing as long as I can remember; the form has changed, but the essence remains the same.
As a creator who interacts with creativity on a daily basis, what's exciting you about culture right now?
Inclusivity. It’s a slow progress, and, obviously, we’ve got a long way to go, but I’m positive we’ll eventually get to a place with more acceptance and less bias. Last year, Mj Rodriguez has become the first transgender actress to pick up an Emmy nomination in a major acting category for her performance in “Pose”, which definitely pushes the needle forward and marks a significant step for LGBTQIA+ representation in today’s culture. We’re living in a very controversial yet interesting time, and I’m excited to witness other pivotal moments like this one ahead of us.
Can you talk about how you juggle multiple priorities, inspirations and asks? As creatives, I think that's one of the things we're all trying to figure out how to do more, better?
As opposed to multitasking, I prefer tackling one task at a time to prevent burnout and rapid task-switching because the more we multitask, the less we actually accomplish. Being honest with yourself, identifying your weaknesses, and taking steps to alleviate the situation before it becomes a problem is really helpful. Also, pushing yourself too hard can be counterproductive because we’re creatives, not robots, so it’s very important to march to the beat of your own drum and stick to the routines that fit your personality. There’s a great quote by Amie McNee: “Creating to be ‘the best’ is a waste of energy. Instead, create to connect to the people who need you.”
As we’ve started to re-engage with physical art spaces again, what learnings do you think we’re taking from the past two years and are applying to your future? Any specific trends you’ve noticed?
As a creative, one of the biggest challenges for me during the pandemic was finding inspiration, and when a number of sources got pretty limited, going to museums in New York was a true godsend. First off, I’m glad that we’ve adopted capacity restrictions not only for obvious safety reasons, but also because visiting art spaces is a very intimate, meditative and therapeutic experience that shouldn’t be too overwhelming to begin with. As far as the trends go, there’s a tremendous increase in the importance of the visual aesthetics of our surroundings due to all the time we’ve spent under house arrest, so to speak. Today, we’re looking for new ways to experience art, which is one of the reasons immersive exhibits are now becoming more prevalent, although they’ve been around for decades. The public’s interest in interactive exhibits has resulted in the development of art spaces solely dedicated to immersive art experiences. Another big trend is, obviously, augmented reality (AR) and a variety of ways it can be incorporated in digital experiences. In a sense, the pandemic has expanded what museums, galleries, and other art spaces can do with technology.
Who is your current creative crush? What artists and art spaces should we keep an eye on?
One of the best things about what I do is that I have either interviewed or befriended many of the creatives I admire, so I’m very lucky in this regard. There are so many creatives that are worth mentioning, but just off the top of my head: Sanya Kantarovski, Fabien Montique, Olaf Hajek, Pablo Di Prima, Susanne Deeken, Kwesi Botchway. THE ARTRUIST is a great digital collective where the artists get to donate 100% of their proceeds to nonprofits such as Feeding America, Rainforest Foundation, Al Otro Lado, and NAACP Legal Fund. Today, I’m proud to be a part of such an amazing initiative, along with Sara Blake, who had introduced me to it, and many other talented artists. In terms of recognizing new mediums and understanding that the art world is expanding, Pace Gallery has set the bar for many contemporary art spaces today. There are many great spots in Chelsea that are worth visiting, but Thomas Erben Gallery is one of the physical art spaces that I can highly recommend, especially in terms of showcasing multifaceted, conceptually minded and internationally oriented exhibits.
The book you're currently reading. And the most recently added track to your Spotify.
“Nevertheless” by Alec Baldwin, which I finished just before this devastating incident took place. Alec is a great storyteller and interviewer, and if you’re not familiar with his podcast “Here’s the Thing”, give it a try. The last track I added on Spotify is “Out of Place” by GusGus.
What's your current coast and...scent?
East coast at the moment, but I like both the same way one can equally admire Tupac and Biggie; New York for work, city life, history and cultural influence, and LA for sunsets, car rides, lifestyle, climate and nature. Going to Europe for inspiration and some family time is always a good idea. As far as the scent goes, anything citrusy, aromatic, green, with a subtle woody base will do. I also fancy Jean-Claude Ellena for his minimalistic approach to perfumery, which has been often compared to watercolor sketches and chamber music, and I definitely second that.
Photographed by Julia Sariy
Hair by Nami Sarada
Makeup by Yumi Nagashima