There is one who has left a dream job as a Microsoft engineer and chosen the life of an artist. A master of diverse fields such as engineering and music, his talents as an artist are truly unique.
Media Artist ㅣ Amay Kataria
A former engineer of Microsoft
now leads the media art industry
A maverick creator of bold new media art,
many have wondered this man’s walk of life
- An undergraduate of engineering at Virginia Tech, you also studied media art at Seattle Community College of Gage Academy of Arts. It could be inferred that your blend of knowledge from both fields enables you to make unique works of art. Please help us understand the subject of media art by briefly introducing it to your audience.
Media art is a category of artworks, which are created by using technology as a medium. The term “media” applies to a communication device that stores and transmits information. This information can be manipulated by an artist for self-expression. In media art, technology and information become the medium by which artistic message is disseminated. By intersecting artistic intent with emerging technologies, media artists have radically redefined the traditional categories of art, thus spawning new disciplines like bioart, computer art, kinetic art, robotic art, web art, etc. which all fall under the umbrella of Media art.
- You have chosen to participate in the third installment of Art Center Nabi this year. One major issue of 2017 that was heavily discussed and is still ongoing is the blockchain technology behind virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. Block chains are often seen as public ledgers. Where did you find the inspiration to interpret this artistically?
After graduating from college, I worked at Microsoft for four and a half years. During that time, I had a strong exposure to emerging technologies and their socio-political rhetoric in our society. One of the technologies that came up a lot during our conversations was the blockchain technology and its first-ever application, Bitcoin. Due to blockchain’s libertarian, free market, and anti-statist conceptual foundation, it grabbed my curiosity and I started learning about it. In 2016, I was financially invested in it and began to keep up with the developments in this technology. When I decided to pursue art school in 2017, my initial investments in Bitcoin had converted into an education fund to help me pay for college. These events emotionally connected me with the rise of blockchain technology and in 2018, I was invited to the Ethereal Summit in New York as a visiting artist to explore the intersection of art & blockchain. From there on, I have been actively engaged in investigating the artistic possibilities with blockchain that brought me to Art Center Nabi.
- Before transitioning into a media artist, you were a software engineer at Microsoft. It could not have been easy giving up a stable job into a new discipline such as art. What was the impetus of this change?
As long as I can remember, there was always a strong tendency in me for self-expression. It manifested itself primarily in the form of playing multiple instruments and writing music. I finally accepted this inner realization of pursuing arts when I was at Burning Man in 2015. As part of SeaWeed, an art collective from Seattle, we put up an installation in the festival called The Chapel of Meditation. The entire experience of preparing and attending this festival led me to come to terms with my passion for arts and therefore, convinced me to pursue it seriously. As soon as I came back from Burning Man, I started developing my portfolio and applied for graduate school in 2016, thus starting an MFA in Art and Technology Studies at School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017.
- You have deep knowledge of music as well. Is there a personal philosophy or direction that you consider paramount when working on music and art?
If I’d have to let you in on my secret behind pursuing these creative outlets, that secret would be hard work, dedication, and honesty. No matter what I have pursued in the past years, be it art, music, or engineering, hard work and focus have always helped me attain my goals. My art is an extension of myself, my character and my existence in this world. So, being honest with myself about my choices have really helped me to think clearly about the kind of work I want to put out there. I believe the joy of creating music or art is highly subjective, but if one can tap into this feeling objectively, one would never stop pursuing this creative spirit for the rest of their life.
< CROWN GOOSE Limited La Dore Collection >
Part of an art project that was reinterpreted to the sensibilities of CROWN GOOSE, the La Dore Collection was inspired by diverse works of art. Its most distinguishing feature is the golden leaf embroidery completed with elaborate stitching. Designed to be elegant from all angles, the atypically distribution of patterns has a unique beauty.
- You currently use the La Dore Collection from CROWN GOOSE. The La Dore Collection was inspired by various arts and philosophies and is most recognizable by its golden leaf design. Please share your thoughts or feelings regarding this Collection.
Crown Goose has done a phenomenal job in putting together this collection. It’s a combination of comfort, sophistication, and decor. It’s simplistic yet attractive design significantly resonates with me. The gold accent on the comforter along with golden leaves indicates a warm and pleasurable experience for anybody using this bedding. It also instils a sense of celebration, joy, and happiness, which are great feelings when entering your bed to get a good night’s rest. This design speaks highly of itself and should connect with a lot of their consumers as well.
< CROWN GOOSE Vertical Hotel >
Through the Vertical Hotel, CROWN GOOSE challenged the stereotype that beds must be grounded and offered a new paradigm. Breaking from the notion of vertical people and horizontal beds, both the bed and person are vertical. Through this optical illusion, one views the bed from above.
- CROWN GOOSE aims to transcend the generic perception on bedding brands through works that have artistic value such as “Vertical Hotel” (A work which presents the bed vertically). As an artist, do you think an amalgamation of art and bed is possible?
Absolutely! Bedding is a significant part of one’s modern-day lifestyle. Intersecting bedding with art raises significant questions about habitat, aesthetics, form, comfort, memory and its connection with its user. Based on the form of the bedding, one can have a sound or an uneasy sleep and based on that, one’s post-sleep life is governed. An aesthetic piece like “Vertical Hotel” can trigger soft spots in people’s minds that can make them want to experience the bedding themselves.
- You have fused various media and arts including kinetic art in your works. It must be important to maintain your condition while preparing your works. Please let us know how you do it.
Due to the nature of my skills and my past industry experience, I thrive in a collaborative environment. I’ve always been a strong proponent to share my knowledge and work with my peers in academic or professional settings. Due to this openness, I got a number of opportunities to work with other interdisciplinary artists this past year, which accelerated my exposure to philosophies, thinking processes, and even other technologies, that have been incorporated in my own art practice. These collaborations have been critical in refining my artistic endeavors and have helped me create new works.
- Perhaps using CROWN GOOSE bedding had a little influence in your current artwork. What kind of inspiration do you think CROWN GOOSE bedding gave while developing your work?
It’s really important to have sound sleep to think clearly. A bad night’s sleep can feel creatively draining the next day. Since I’ve been to Korea, Crown Goose bedding at Hanok has been keeping me cool and comfortable through the nights. It’s helped me get adjusted quickly in this new city, get over my jet lag smoothly, and wake up with a fresh mind in the morning to focus on my work. Every night after a hard day’s work, I’ve been happily retiring to my bed to wake up well rested the next day. This has inspired me to be creatively focused and active in developing my artwork during my stay in Korea this summer. Thanks, Crown Goose!
- Following this two-month project, will you be active artistically in Korea? Please share with us your plan for the future.
The work developed during this residency will be culminating into a final exhibition, Mythopia: Blockchain and Humanity (Working Title) in November, 2018. I believe Korea has a very strong media arts community due to the presence of organizations like Art Center Nabi. Hopefully, the blockchain exhibition and the various works produced during this residency will open new opportunities for me to be involved in the arts community in this country.