Dustin Yellin is everywhere. He’s at Lincoln Center, Sotheby’s, the Kennedy Arts Center, Armory Week, Frieze Week… and he’s taking over Brooklyn. Good thing he is extremely likeable and inspiringly talented, because he’ll be around for a long time.
Born in LA, his family moved to Colorado, where he went to school and subsequently dropped out before finishing. Now, a New Yorker since 1995, Yellin is changing the art scene in a significant way.
Makes you question the value of a traditional education, doesn’t it?
Instead, you could be putting your curiosity into practice in the real world— which is what Yellin has been doing (Not making any claims against traditional schooling, but…). in 2012, he officially opened Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation, whose mission is:
dedicated to the creation, synthesis and discussion of art, science and education. Located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the Center gathers artists, scientists and creative thinkers to collaborate outside the boundaries of traditional institutions where specialization often limits the application of ideas across disciplines. Through a community devoted to creative discourse and collaboration, Pioneer Works is a platform where ideas can manifest into their fullest expression. The Center enacts its vision for a more complex, creative and productive society through educational programming, exhibitions, publications, residencies, lectures and performances. Housed in a reclaimed former iron works factory, Pioneer Works is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Besides spending time setting up this ambitious foundation (funded by the sales of his artwork), Yellin publishes a quarterly publication of artist interviews “Intercourse”, has co-directed a documentary, “Little Grandfather” with four friends, starred in another documentary “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film“, and inexhaustibly continues to churn out his recognizable glass sculptures. It’s like the rest of the population is sleeping while Yellin, who is wide awake, is not wasting any second.
My mother —and partner-in-crime— got the chance to visit Dustin in his Pioneer Works home-base, and he was patient enough to answer all our questions! Below is an exclusive peek into his studio, where all the magic happens.