Jani Kyungran de Martini
I looked down at Jani’s purple laceup sneakers, painted to look like fish scales. Her short bleached blonde hair and backward baseball cap. One thing was obvious, this was a woman with a strong sense of aesthetics.
“Ok you guys can have a look around and see what you like. I don’t know what you are interested in, I just make a lot of stuff out of nothing.”
The stuff out of nothing that Jani refers to includes wild jewelry made from found objects, metal, feathers, coloured with bright nail polish, spikes, chains and all. A shoulder strap accessory that wouldn’t look out of place in the depths of club kid culture. She also has furniture decked out in toy dinosaurs wearing a single high heel as a crowns and big eye- lashes.
“Here’s one that I gave to Lori last year. I think it’s too advanced for The Stand.” It was a pink tyrannosaurus rex turned into a lapel pin. Its head bent slightly, ever so snug across the collarbone. It is so sweet, in a macabre sort of way.
I felt like a child in a glittery junk-jewelery candy store. I looked admiringly at a heavy, steel, double bonded neck chain with a lioness medallion that she showed me. Somehow it managed to be both noble and trashy. She looked at me, bashful and hiding her pleasure “Oh you think this is nice?”
Jani was quick to inform us that she had little inspiration for the arts as she was growing up. She was a genuine mountain girl from Bavaria, adopted by hippy German parents. “They found me in the fields in Mongolia” she said with a shrug.
Her artistic expression started young. Jani quickly discovered she had a “really good eye, a sense of aesthetics for proportions, and for the ugly things that have beauty in them”. Even as a child, without any encouragement, Jani would take joy in discovering something like piece of metal in the streets which she would take apart before reassembling it to her liking. The final product would be a mish mash of what can only be described as a punk infused magical formula. “The obvious beauty for things is very boring. It’s more interesting if there's a new twist or like something that does not fit so well. and the same thing I think is with art.”
This led to her first coming to New York to become a makeup artist and working on fashion shoots. However, it was not a smooth run. Where Jani was direct and intuitive, the fashion world felt muddied and opaque. Where Jani sought to try out her creative expression, she was exhausted with hearing ambiguous feedback where her colleagues would respond to her with a sense of “blahhh blahhh everything is wonderful and then nah.”
It was a refreshing change when Jani finally met Lori because she immediately felt Lori understood what she was doing. When asked what type of artists Lori promotes, Jani, was quick to quip “the lost and weird ones”. Lori guides, shapes, encourages and is both direct and never-endingly patient. She helps bridge the gap between what the world wants and what Jani has to offer.
On a practical level they also quickly bonded over their mutual love of making things out of trash. Where Lori started making artistic creations from junk found in Paris, Jani found the streets of New York to be a continuous source of inspiration. Like many artists at the Stand, Jani feels compelled to make these pieces. “For me it's like meditation”. Her motivation to make objects was came from a deep psychological urge, rather than meeting a commercial need.
As we are getting ready to depart, we asked Jani to tell us something that other people may not know about her. She responds in a most ‘Jani’ fashion. “I think that people always thinking I'm super fashion and a bitch. And actually, I am not, in the commercial sense. They don't know that I'm a mountain girl in my heart. That's for sure.”
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