Artist, designer, and fabricator Zak Ostrowski makes a lot of things, most notably an impression. When he shares whatever he’s most recently conjured with his bare hands with the rest of the world, it’s generally with such a measurable level of ease and matter-of-factness, you’d think something like setting fire to every square inch of a motel room (which he did as part of last year’s Life Is Beautiful Art Odyssey installation) was as common as breathing air. It’s not. And his innovative take on the world—much of it known to the city and much of it there, inconspicuous, for discovery—is anything but common as well.
Having lived in Albuquerque, Portland, and Miami for much of his life, Ostrowski—an 8-year Vegas resident—appreciates cities not simply as places to reside, but as living organisms. He values structural aesthetics and functional, visual urban planning, giving a second glance to any seemingly errant fence post or a generally overlooked manhole cover pattern. No detail is too small to consider. He is a rare breed of dreamer and maker who draws from far outside and deep within to find and give meaning to every facet of each project that comes his way—and they are many.
Operating independently much of the time and collaborating with a core group of friends and creative peers whenever possible, Zak switches between the fine art, design-build, fabrication, and rendering worlds seamlessly, daily, and typically while in stealth mode.
Giving careful consideration to materials ranging from wood, stone, metal, fiberglass, and often employing transformation, Ostrowski’s work and influence can be seen and felt throughout the Valley. In downtown Las Vegas, Ostrowski’s creations can be found in City Hall’s first- and second-floor permanent collections, as well as inside The D Hotel and Inspire Theater. His work also resides all the way in Boulder City and in numerous private collections.
Don’t let the tattoo sleeves fool you. There’s a story in every colorful drop of ink, but he’s a gentle soul. Catch him early in the morning as he gets his caffeine fix and, down-to-earth guy that he is, he’ll happily tell you as much as you’d like to know.
Zak Ostrowski’s work is on display at the BLVDS House Gallery B,
509 S 7th St., thru August 31.
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