NEST HQ was created with the intention of being a platform aimed at promoting and encouraging the growth of artists of all genres and mediums. While we’ve worked mostly within music up to this point, we are expanding on a new content series that will showcase multimedia artists of various backgrounds including painters, graphic designers, architects, and others of the sort; this is installation. Every other week, we’ll post hand-selected pieces from our featured artists via our Instagram @nesthq, along with excerpts from the full interviews which will be posted on the Friday of that week.
This week on installation, we present multimedia artist and graphic designer kyttenjanae.
Kytten is an incredibly talented visual artist who has seen her work shown in museums, galleries, festivals, and shows including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, FILE Sao Paulo 2015, Everything Is Festival, Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and many more.
“Kytten is influenced by all the sadness in her heart and the Internet’s small cultures and communities. Interested in the intersection of experimental animation, technology, and interactivity, kyttenjanae creates digital and physical experiences.”
Can you tell us a bit about how your story as an artist began? At what point did you realize that art was something you’d be doing longterm?
I have no idea what I’d be doing if I couldn’t do this. At least for right now, art is my purpose.
As a kid, I struggled a lot in school with a learning disability. I felt isolated. I found a comfort in drawing and arts classes – I could focus, I could make things, I understood the structure and process. It was the one thing that really clicked for me.
Later on in high school, I was really, really lucky that someone saw potential in me and accepted me into UCLA’s Design Media Arts department. That moment changed my entire life. I fell in love with education. I felt like I had a place in the world. I realized that an artistic career was possible.
What is the reason for the medium you chose to become proficient in? What does this medium allow you to do that other mediums may not?
I’ve always been obsessed with technology and the Internet. My first computer was an iMac G3 in Grape. As an artist, I utilize technology within my practice as a means to deepen the human experience and facilitate real interpersonal connections. I believe that as we humanize technology, we have unlimited potential to develop, understand, and connect with humanity as a whole, potentially even altering the human condition as we know it.
What were the inspirations behind these three pieces specifically?
My work exclusively examines the duality of infinite beauty and infinite sadness found within the human condition. Conceptually, I focus on the five pillars of human experience: birth, growth, connection, conflict, and mortality. By depicting these core themes, I hope to ignite universal, primal responses that transcend language, location, and time.
These are portraits of two parts of a single person – not exactly their past and their present, but something like that. I am fascinated by the delicate internal relationship we maintain with ourselves. And though it’s definitely a part of it, I’m not specifically speaking on mental health here. I think this is more universal than that. It’s more like – we all have fucked up parts, damaged pasts, painful memories and I want to acknowledge that they live within us. It’s empowering.
What are some of the defining moments in your career so far? How have they affected the way you approach your art and your creations?
There’s been a lot of very cool “wow” moments where I’ve been totally awestruck but, at the end of the day, just having the opportunity to connect with people worldwide has been so impactful. I get a lot of amazing messages from people who have felt a connection because of something I’ve made. It means the most to me and it’s why I keep creating.
How do you feel the industry is doing right now? Which trends are really pushing the industry forward, and which are holding it back?
The industry is changing. I think in general, artists are very excited about the new possibilities technology brings. We’re in such an amazing, exploratory space right now. We have so many new tools and everyone’s still figuring out how to use them. Also, more people are starting to create and engage daily. Lots of young artists send me their work and I get so excited. The next generation is going to be insane.
There are some big problems, though. There still aren’t enough women or people of color involved. It can be an extremely white and sexist industry, especially on the more commercial side of things (production houses, design teams, etc). There’s plenty of opportunity – tons of jobs and shows and events, but women and p.o.c. aren’t getting picked for those things. The only time they do is when the thing is designed to be “inclusive”, and to me that just feels more exclusionary. It makes me feel like shit. We aren’t getting paid the same amount, either.
And I think some of the tropes and imagery can be really reductive and boring. It’s really easy to get caught up in labels and semantics, and I think certain terms, especially those associated with the whole aesthetic/“vaporwave” movement can be harmful. It feels very dated to me and I wish it would stop.
Though, on the plus side, the art community seems to be engaged in an ongoing discussion about these things. I hope positive changes come soon.
What are some other artists that you are currently into?
I have too many favorites but here’s a lil list of people everyone should be watching right now:
Philip Rugo, Sam Rolfes, Shawna X, Steve Smith, Vince McKelvie, Brittney Scott, Ambar Navarro, somehoodlum, the ladies @ Metaverse Nails, and the curatorial team at Paloma Powers.
What are some of your goals for 2016?
Last year I was focused on very specific goals – stuff like my first solo show, travel, certain interviews, whatever. Something in my perspective has changed in the last few months. I don’t really have a specific destination.
Art, for me, right now, is about making someone else feel something. I just want to make stuff and be a vessel of truth and human connection. That’s my only goal.
Why did you choose these pieces to represent yourself on this spread?
Because they come from my heart!!