The artist behind the super-limited YTTP lamp collab spills all about her ego, living her truth, and what it means to really find yourself.
By Manna Zel
The latest drop from Youth To The People is a first for the brand—a super limited-edition run of one-of-a-kind table lamps that encompass the emotive concepts of dreams, energy, and unity, created in collaboration with stained glass artist Kerbi Urbanowski.
“Last year, Greg and I got to talking and realized how similar our creative processes are. Although one could say we are in completely different fields—skincare/wellness and visual art—we share a deep-rooted belief in minimizing our eco-footprint,” Kerbi says. “This was one of my favorite parts of working with Youth To The People, and through exposure and collaboration, I was able to weave some of YTTP’s green practices into my art foundation and routine.”
It’s this ideology that the collaboration stems from, and together they created a series of 30 lamps made with 90% post-consumer recycled materials and rooted in an old glassmaker tradition called “End of Day”—in which the artist creates something beautiful from the remaining broken glass pieces that day.
“It has taken me a long time to craft (and share) a body of work that I stand by both ethically and visually,” Kerbi says, “and I hope you enjoy what we came up with.”
Read Kerbi’s responses to the Youth Questionnaire below and shop her collab with YTTP here.
Question 06: What does pride mean to you?
When I take pride in something, it usually means that I will do what I can to defend it. I suppose no one has ever asked me that question before, and to be honest, I am unhappy with my immediate response of defense. It means that my knee-jerk understanding of pride often coincides with a feeling and need to protect something I care about deeply, often something that I believe does need protecting. Pride can, unfortunately, enrich the best and worst parts of us, and I try to look at it as a whole, where sometimes it’s beautiful, inclusive, proactive, loving, and celebratory, and other times it can be misunderstood, ostracizing, violent, and destructive. On a lighter note, pride concerning art is when I’ve put an uncomfortable amount of hard work, beyond what’s expected, and still through everything love myself and the artistic outcome.
Question 09: What is your favorite memory in nature?
Well, I want to write something people would be in awe of, but I grew up in Chicago and the most exciting things that happened in nature were flash floods, storms that knocked the electricity out, and cicadas. I remember when the summer heat storms hit, we would sometimes lose electricity all night. We’d light candles and sit on our front porch swing in blankets and feel the warm wind whip around us. My mom always made it a special event by indulging our imaginations and telling stories. Sometimes, when the rain really fell, we would play slip and slide mud tag in the baseball field across the street. I have others but those are the ones I miss the most.
Question 10: Describe your relationship with your ego.
My ego makes me care immensely what people close to me think. In my less-great moments, I tend to try and control situations and their outcomes so that I can sway people's perception of me and *cringe* make them like me more. It’s the unhealthy and unchecked part of my ego, and probably one of the more embarrassing things I’ve acknowledged on paper. On the other hand, I know my ego has in many ways pushed me to become a better person. I am a people pleaser, and caring what they think pushes me to make better decisions. In close friendships and relationships, I want to understand the people l love, grow a deeper connection, and use my knowledge of who they are to help them in whichever way they need. This may deal with attachment styles(!) but is also deeply rooted in my concept of self/ego. This is a loaded answer, and trust me I’m still working on it.
Question 15: What is your personal goal for this year, month, or day?
I’ve been trying to be more accepting of my work/life flow. I'm often balancing the two, and think that if I can work just a little bit harder things will level out. This is comical in some ways because I believe that anything compelling always unbalances your life!
Question 22: Is it necessary to have things in common with those who you love?
In my experience, it has been less challenging but not necessary. Every relationship has its nuance of needs. Some of my most rewarding relationships have been extremely difficult, and the moments where we’ve been able to resolve issues, meet each other's needs, and still maintain respect and love have been very meaningful. To me, it means the other person has listened and actively tried, and vice versa. Whether we agree, disagree, or share things in common doesn’t really matter.
Question 24: What does it mean to find yourself?
This is another heavy one and with honesty, I would explain it as an act, where I finally acknowledge and validate my feelings. The most noteworthy moments have been when my subconscious thoughts became clear enough to understand and process aloud. This can be very difficult, and my two-sentence answer is making this seem a lot easier than it actually is.
Question 25: Who are you when you’re free to dream?
I believe there is a blurry line between dream and reality, so much so that my friends will often ask me, “Hey, have you thought this thing through?!”. Well, maybe not! But daydreaming makes me extremely excited and optimistic about life. I really like who I am in those moments, and am happiest when I have the energy and space to indulge in my dreams. They are the beginning of something, signify hope, and are the reason I've been able to entertain and believe in myself this long.
Question 26: What does it mean to live your truth?
In my opinion, living my truth is a chore wheel of to-dos. LOL but that was my immediate response to this question because it is not easy! Sometimes I really think I’m living my truth and then I realize the outfit I picked out (which made me feel cute and unique) had flashed across Instagram the night before. And one time, I named a line of objects (something I won’t repeat because it's too embarrassing) the exact same name of a gallery opening I had gone to earlier that week! WORD FOR WORD. Luckily I caught it, but seriously, whose truth am I living!?!? When I mean chore wheel, it’s a constant reevaluation or check-in about my present and future desires, an acknowledgment of my strengths and shortcomings, then some pep talks, and then some list-making. Then repeat.