The Cultivate Curatorial Board is excited to share the work of Amay Kataria.
Amay shares his work and process in our interview below.
Learn more about the Cultivate Featured artist series below.
Learn more about Amay on his:
Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement
I’m a new-media artist and my creative practice is a space to build interactive systems, reflecting upon the relationship between self and the collective. I draw inspiration from natural forms to craft experiences of warmth, empathy, and joy for the audience. The finished artifact is a performative object, which is created using digital tools, and is often distributed as an immersive media experience to the audience. My works are staged as installations and point to a language of sculpture in its use of hybrid materiality, mediating the line between digital and physical. Additionally, writing is an integral part of my practice, through which I locate my work within the historical context.
How do you go about beginning a new piece? Do you have it planned or is it more spontaneous?
Benjamin Franklin once said, “failing to plan is like planning to fail.” I came across this quote a year ago and it has greatly affected my working style.
Now, I approach every creative project in a highly systematic way, which involves planning the various stages that the project will pass through. To do this, I use a tool called Notion, which allows me to track the journey of developing a work. This dramatic change in my working process has brought about a major shift in my studio practice, which has allowed me to streamline logistics, operations, processes, and working notes I used in previous projects. Hence, whenever I’m planning my next work, I have insight into the documentation of my past successful projects.
Every project begins with a vision log, which lays out how I envision it at its end. Then, I put down the goals that I want to achieve and from there, the milestones along the way to finish it. This gives me an initial skeleton of a plan, which is worked to complete production. It also acts like a compass that I go back to, whenever I feel lost or misguided in my decision making. I often adjust my plan to match the real progress in a project, so I can make the right decisions to deliver it on time. It’s like a project book, where all critical information is documented along the way.
I believe it has greatly helped me appreciate the creative and administrative hardwork that goes behind completing an art project successfully.
What is a barrier that you, as an artist, overcame?
This biggest barrier that I’ve had to overcome as an artist and a human being is the myth of motivation. Everybody wants to be productive and create lots of good art. However, there is a gap between a thought and an action that will fulfill this thought. And that is called motivation. Now, the myth is that “we need” motivation to fill that gap. However, what we really need is self-discipline. And I believe self-discipline is like a sword, which helps us win battles against our own procrastinating selves to get things done. However, this sword can get dull overtime if not used at all or if used profusely. Thus, one needs to work on keeping the sword sharp rather than motivating themselves to convert their thoughts into action. Once this analogy concretely settled in my mind, I noticed a boost in my productivity levels across all facets of my life.
What is your go-to music when you're working on art?
My all-time favorite jam for the studio is simply putting up an instrumental lofi playlist, which keeps the mood mellow and leaves enough mental space to work. However, if I need to ensure a highly focused session, I put the Interstellar theme as my background.
What do you strive for as an artist? What form of recognition is important for you?
Being an artist exposed me to a lot of ground, which I would have never come across in my previous career. I turned to art to find a creative voice, which took me on unexplored journeys while stimulating new experiences in the theater of my mind. During this time, I found new subject matter or these subjects found me, and I became a medium through which these stories were expressed to the world. As I continue to make art, I want to keep finding ideas that challenge me to learn new things and go a step beyond expressing the tendencies of this medium.
I believe recognition is extremely important for me because it's a form of external feedback about how my work is perceived by the world. At this stage of my career, recognition in the form of residencies that give me space and time to reflect upon my work and enhance my creative style are the most fulfilling for me.
What advice would you share for artists? Share something that you have learned along the way.
As artists, we are constantly making decisions. In fact, we are curating several creative choices, which go into crafting a piece of work. A really productive way to hone this decision making skill is to curate other people’s work into public exhibitions. I curated my first show in 2022, where I was liable to effectively communicate, organize logistics, market the event, and deliver an aesthetic experience to the audience. Finally, I got an opportunity to publish a curatorial essay about the themes and ideas that I was exploring through these works, which were like an extension of my own practice. Thus, my advice for the artist out there is to curate a show to expand their creative vision.
What is a work of art that is an inspiration to you?
A work that has repeatedly inspired me is Play by Urs Fischer, which was first exhibited at the Gagosian gallery in New York in 2018. A groundbreaking work at the intersection of artificial intelligence, sculpture, and choreography, is a piece I always find myself going back to.
Who are three working artists that you love and would recommend?
A curated collection of emerging and mid-career artists. The featured artist program at Cultivate serves to share the artist's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why an artist creates the work they do, to market and promote artists, and to connect artists to each other and to our network of curators, artists, and gallery owners.
These artists are curated together and represent the work that we exhibit at Cultivate. The artists are selected in January and June, and scheduled out for the six-month period. If you are interested in being one of Cultivate featured artists, please visit our open call for submissions.