Atlanta Artist Mike Stasny Turns Debris Into Creatures

Local artist Mike Stasny builds monsters from debris. This is his “K(no)w Monster.”


Atlanta artist and musician Mike Stasny has made monsters out of furniture and has turned a gallery into a bar.

“So my grandfather was a taxidermist, so when I was growing up playing with Legos and other things, I would play with his unfinished taxidermy projects,” he said.

That gruesome and skeletal influence of the unfinished taxidermy animals can be seen in his monster sculptures, which are made out of whatever materials are available.

“There’s a lot of detritus in the world,” said Stasny. “You can pretty much put debris together and make something beautiful out of it.”

Stasny’s pieces, which have been over 12-feet-tall in some cases, are temporary, as he doesn’t have the resources to store them. So, after shows, he dismembers the creatures and affixes some of the pieces to small, wooden panels. He calls these “artifacts.”

His work has been commissioned by Turner Broadcasting, and he has work in the city of Atlanta’s permanent collection.

Stasny has also worked with several artist collectives in Atlanta, including the Dashboard Co-op and the Goat Farm Arts Center.

Before being an Atlanta-based artist, Stasny was a flight attendant and was part of a team that made a legendary viral video in the early 2000s.

Beyond building objects, Stasny also delves into performance art. For example, his “Club MSIF” is an 8-foot cube dance club. Inside, people are supposed to let loose. Stasny and his team wear monster masks to enhance the experience.

Another piece, called “Sumptuary,” experimented with a moneymaking model for artists.

“It’s a riff on consumption tax, so basically cigarettes and sin tax on unsavories like alcohol,” he said.

For the project, Stasny and his team turned MINT Gallery into a bar. Like a bartender receiving tips, the artists received the proceeds from a night of performance art and drinks.

Stasny will have pieces at Dashboard Co-op’s five-year anniversary show, which opens this Saturday at the Zuckerman Museum of Art and runs through July 26.