One on One with Aaron "Ether" Petykowski / by ETD

Aaron "Ether" Petykowski is the costume designer for first commissioned piece, Cycles (2017). His creative design sparked inspiration in all us at ETD and amazed everyone that attended our 2017 NYC Season.We are so excited to be performing an excerpt of this piece again at Bryant Park (Friday, June 22nd) and again at Dancers for Good (Saturday, July 20th). Here is a little background on him and his life at New York University...

1. When did you begin designing clothes and costumes? Do you do it professionally?

I began designing costumes a bit over a year ago, unless you count decorating t-shirts. I first made a costume for pride and since then I try to make time to make interesting pieces here and there. I do not do it professionally, it’s just a fun hobby!

2. When did you first collaborate with Eryc Taylor Dance? What was the project? How was your experience?  

This is my first collaboration with Eryc Taylor Dance! The project was tough and really pushed my knowledge and attention to detail. It was a really great learning experience and taught me a lot about what I value in costume design.

3. What would be the ultimate project to design on?

I love the idea of working with someone like Shingo Sato, who was a big inspiration for my collaboration with Eryc Taylor Dance. His clothing construction is unlike anything I have seen before and I would love the opportunity to learn from him.

4. Describe your style of costume design and the artists that have impacted the most.

My costume design style is abstract. I have no formal education in designing or sewing so everything I make originates from that basis. I look to the New York club kid scene for inspiration as well as artists like Kim Chi who create more conceptual designs.

5. What public figure has had the biggest influence on you and why?

RuPaul has had the biggest influence on me because she was my introduction to the drag world and really gave me a deeper appreciation for LGBTQ art and culture. If it was not for her I would not have found the club kid scene or the countless drag artists who are consistently innovating and creating.

6. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?

I read a book on tidying one’s house and the author said that if something you own doesn’t inspire joy in your life, you should get rid of it, and I think that is universal statement.

7. What's been the largest obstacle/struggle in your life to becoming an artist in NYC? How did you overcome it?

The largest struggle for me becoming an artist in NYC is juggling being a full time student at New York University and wanting to begin more freelancing as an artist. I have found a balance but it took me a couple years of seeing how much I could do of either and still feel fulfilled by both.

8. What projects or designs are you currently working on?       

Currently I am taking a break from creating any sort of designs but I still find myself sketching costumes all the time, so it’s probably a matter of time before I start working again!