Mark Kostabi is unquestionably one of the most recognizable icons to emerge from New York’s legendary 1980s East Village art scene. A contemporary of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kostabi invented a wholly unique art style that has resonated with audiences around the globe.
His universal, faceless figures inhabit surreal worlds of colors and contrasts. Worlds where his subjects interact with themes of love, isolation, technology, and modern anxieties.READ MORE +
Driven by his lifelong passion for art, Mark Kostabi studied his craft at California State University. At the age of 19, he began selling his designs to galleries in Los Angeles and quickly attracted celebrity collectors.
In 1982, he moved to New York, arguably the center of the art world at the time. Kostabi thrived in the city’s fertile art community, but his career skyrocketed after he was inspired by one of his artistic heroes, Andy Warhol.
Warhol was famous for founding “The Factory,” the notorious art studio where Warhol would work with artists and artisans to mass-produce his famous designs.
Kostabi, in turn, took that model to the next level. In the tradition of Warhol’s Factory or Picasso’s work with the ceramic artisans in Vallauris, Kostabi created “Kostabi World,” a studio in New York where he would work with teams of artists to create artwork in his trademark “Kostabi-style.”
“Kostabi World” became such an art world sensation that Kostabi was profiled in People Magazine, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and thousands of other media outlets. He was even featured on an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
During this publicity frenzy, Kostabi took great pleasure in antagonizing the media. He would provoke reporters with claims that others created his art or draw them into debates about art authorship. Meanwhile, the artist enjoyed endless free publicity for his mischievous jabs at the press.
However, despite his playful comments, Kostabi always remained the true “author” of his artwork, a fact that is bolstered by the impressive awards and honors he has received throughout his career.
Kostabi’s paintings are featured in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and many, many others.
During the height of the Cold War, Kostabi collaborated with a team of artists to create original Kostabi paintings in Russia. This led to Kostabi being featured at his own sold-out show at the Hermitage, making him the only contemporary Western artist ever to have a modern art show in Russia before the fall of the Soviet Union.
While his art has appeared on countless international products and advertisements, another major milestone in Kostabi’s career occurred when the popular band Guns ‘N’ Roses chose his artwork as the cover for their acclaimed double-album “Use Your Illusion,” which has sold over 35 million copies.
Today, Kostabi splits his time between New York and Rome, now painting more than ever before, and continues the work of “Kostabi World” as he brings his exceptional, enigmatic art to happy collectors worldwide.