Kennedy Yanko and “A Massive Muscle of Confidence”

For many artists, their lives and experiences shape the kind of work they create.  Nowhere is this more true than for sculptor and painter Kennedy Yanko, who is redefining the field of metalworking through her use of found industrial materials.

Over the summer, Health Magazine sat down with Kennedy Yanko in her Brooklyn studio to discuss her work, her lifestyle, and her approach to art.  Beginning her career as an actor and fitness instructor in New York City, Yanko says this experience “was really informative to the work I was doing as a painter who was very physically active in their work.”

Yanko focuses not only on the physicality of the work itself, but also on the physicality of the art-making process as a whole.  She is involved in every step of the process, “working with demolition teams, going to metal yards, driving around looking for the right materials,” and then the process of shaping the metal, “torching it, welding it, bending it, jumping on it a lot…”  

Her artwork, she says, is inspired by action painters and conceptual artists, those who go outside the box and use their movement and bodies to assist in the creation of their work. But while her body is an important tool, Yanko also credits her mind with her creations.  “My mind is more powerful than my body.” All of this, Yanko says, helps her to develop what she really relies on as an artist, a “massive muscle of confidence.”

Watch Health Magazine’s video:


Written by Emelia Lehmann