By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Draped on the two stages, behind all of the musicians at the Adirondack Independence Music Festival last weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1 and 2, were several large-scale tie-dyed tapestries that it turns out were created for the festival by Glens Falls artist and entrepreneur Zack Ignazio.
The piece on the right-hand stage was approximately 10-by-30 feet, Zack tells The Chronicle, “the largest I’ve made.”
On the left stage, he made two smaller, matching 10-by-15-foot pieces.
“I had to actually use two separate pieces of fabric and safety pin them together in the middle,” to make the large one, he said.
Zack has spent the last several years making tie dye tapestries and clothing items that he sells at festivals but also, he said, increasingly in bulk online to vendors as far away as California.
He said AIM festival promoter Dave Ehmann “pitched the idea to me back in May at the Primus concert” at the Cool Insuring Arena in downtown Glens Falls, to make the tapestry backdrops.
“I knew I had a long, hot summer ahead of me, full of shows,” Zack says, “but I was extremely honored and humbled to be asked to adorn the stages of his festival. Knowing I had never done anything of that stature before, I was excited for the challenge.”
How much does he plan it out? “
I do have a general idea of what I will be creating when I begin a piece, but more often than not I find myself ‘improvising’ throughout the process,” he said, “switching things up as I move along. Every time I wash a piece out, I never really know exactly how it will look, which is exciting.”
He said, “Very simply, I use completely traditional tie dye methods. I do have a strong grasp on the very basic chemistry behind it all though, which is something not too many people understand.
The nitty gritty: “I am creating a covalent bond between the dye and the fabric. So, my job is to create the perfect environment for the bond to be the best that it can be.
“Using certain chemicals to adjust the PH of the fabric, constantly measuring the temperature because certain colors need to reach certain temperatures to truly ‘bond’ to the fabric.
“It’s all relatively simple but those fundamentals of tie dyeing, if you will, allow me to provide a more vibrant, long lasting product.”
He said the tapestries now belong to the festival. “I am assuming they’ll be used again next year, but I am not entirely sure!”
Zack sees himself as a Glens Falls man, though he grew up in Queensbury, Class of 2011, and currently lives there.
“I actually graduated a half year early and did a European trip with my mother Kate Boyle,” he notes.
He says, “I have never received any higher education in art, or anything for that matter. Though I have always been artistically inclined, I never truly found my niche until around 2016 when I started tie dying.
“Even then I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted to do. But soon enough, I became obsessed. I had to be the best.
He says he was working in kitchens at local restaurants — Davidson Brothers and Downtown City Tavern — but “that was starting to get old. I told myself I didn’t want to work in the culinary business anymore, and made it a goal to be a full time artist in a few years.”
This April, he says, he quit his job to become a full-time tie dye artist.
“I do exceptionally well with online sales via Facebook, Instagram and my Website www.4dgalleryandmassage.com.
Summers, he and girlfriend Kathleen Goutos travel the country, “following our favorite bands and selling tie dyes.”
“This is currently my full time job,” he affirms. “We try to place ourselves and festivals and shows we would normally be attending in the first place. We set up our pop up shop, me selling my tie dyes, while Kathleen, a massage therapist, offers chair massages at the booth as well.
“I say tie dying found me,” he says. “I needed a healthy outlet. I was trying so many different mediums and nothing was satisfying me — spray painting, jewelry making, etc. But I became enamored with tie dying and haven’t looked back. It keeps me intrigued enough still to this day and there is always room to grow and progress.”
It’s “incredibly fun,” Zack says. “I am like a professional kid. I get to throw colors around and make a mess and dance around in my studio. And yes, at this point, it does in fact pay the bills. Some days are better than others I always say, but I firmly believe if I stay focused I could do this for a long time.
They did more than 50 shows this summer, he notes. “We are gonna take a few weeks off from concerts,” he says, “but we will be at the Phish shows in Albany in October definitely.”
He adds, “I highly encourage others to find what they love in their own life. And do it. Do it like it’s the last time you’ll ever be able to. Every time. We only have one lap on this planet and I’m trying to make mine as colorful, fun and bright as possible.”
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