Tesh makes chairs out of every and anything, including parking signs. Credit: Vic Verbalaitis

Roughly halfway between the 88th Street and Rockaway Boulevard A train stops in Ozone Park, New York, one inconspicuous rooftop is littered with what appears to be trash. Bicycles, shopping carts and car parts are strewn about.

But upon further inspection, this rooftop is actually a showroom of sorts. The debris scattered about are works of art: makeshift chairs made up of a variety of materials, composed and welded together by 37-year-old Queens artist Sateesh Parsotan. This rooftop, above the Monkey Wrench Inc. auto repair shop, is what Parsotan refers to as “Chairyland”.

Random objects become seats on this rooftop. Credit: Vic Verbalaitis

Parsotan, who goes by Tesh, is the artist behind the Instagram account @chairyland, which showcases the unique chairs he creates by repurposing leftover parts, scrap metal from his local garbage man and other discarded trash he finds around the city. Tesh started the Instagram page in Oct. 2021, after someone told him he should have a way to share with the world the art that he creates.

Tesh says that making chairs has always been something he was interested in, even if he was just flipping over a bucket. Outside of his art, Tesh works as a mechanic at his family-owned shop. He has worked in the shop since he was 14, and learned how to weld at 16 by watching his uncle weld exhaust. 

Tesh welds metal onto a traditional chair frame. Credit: Vic Verbalaitis

After learning to weld, Tesh discovered that he could create his own chairs by repurposing unused junk. He said that he made his first real chair over a decade ago, but really began taking it seriously once the pandemic left him with more free time on his hands.

Tesh has since created dozens of chairs at his auto repair workshop, which he shares  on Instagram. His posts range from chairs in progress to finished chairs, as well as some other creative projects that he works on, and his chairs typically have a graffiti-style tag saying “Chairy” or “Chairyland” somewhere on them.

Tesh often places his finished chairs somewhere in the city, usually at a spot where he thinks people will get the most use out of them. He said that he has no plans to sell his chairs, as he would rather have them be of use in public spaces. Whether it is a bus stop without a bench or a just stretch of sidewalk with a nice view, Tesh tries to place his chairs so they get as much use as possible from people who need a seat.

 “I’ve seen a lady at the bus stop sitting on one of my chairs,” he said.“Somebody sent me this picture, and I’m like, ‘This lady’s using my chair!’ What’s more fulfilling than seeing your art being utilized?”

What was once a shopping cart becomes a chair. Credit: Vic Verbalaitis

Tesh added that sometimes, however, his chairs are stolen or moved from where they were initially placed, even if they were locked up. What upsets him more than someone stealing his art is the fact that they are taking away a seat from somebody else.

“It’s not about stealing the art, it’s about stealing the chair. That chair was there and the people that walk by see it and use it,” Tesh said. “I don’t want people to steal it, I’d rather them just utilize it.”

Tesh places his chair in spots where he believes they will be used. Credit: Vic Verbalaitis

Tesh remarked that in cities around the country, and New York City especially, there is a war on chairs. With the increase in hostile architecture like divided benches and bolted ledges, there are fewer places for people to sit and rest comfortably in public spaces than ever before. He sees it as an opportunity to use his art to help people find a comfortable place to sit in public.

“My thing is really just, have a seat,” he said. “To me, it’s really about giving someone a place to rest, or myself, a place to rest.”

YouTube video
A day in Chairyland by Vic Verbalaitis

For more stories about unique people doing cool things in NYC, check out some of our small business stories here.

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