Q&A: Katai

Tony Katai
Tripled, 2018
three photographs; 75 x 75 cm
inkjet print on fine art paper 100% cotton

Flash interview by António Cerveira Pinto

Tony Katai
Tripled, 2018
three photographs; 75 x 75 cm

Q: Tripled is a completed unexpected artwork as we think of most of your known photos. Why this degree of abstraction?

A: The set is a dissection of a photograph I captured in the middle of the night, of a tree, at a place called Ghost Rock. I really just wanted to do something unexpected and I love the way they look together as a set.

Q: They look like kaleidoscopic portraits of someone unknown. These three images stay between anamorphic and fractal representation. Why these decorative patterns? Are they iconoclastic statements? Symmetries are a kind of religious ancient approach to knowledge… Are you into a quintessential renovation process? Pure chance… What?

A: This is a slight glimpse into infinity. By using specific angles and numbers I was able to display the natural energy of the location and myself in that specific moment. These do feel very ancient to me – like an eclipse of an eye in the desert of the mind. My temple is constantly being renovated as I perfect my artistry.

Q: Where are you going from here?

A: Honestly, just let it go where it does.

Tony Katai
Before Never
2018 , 3:36 , 16:9 , 3840p , Stereo
Angelina Vancheri
Light Installation by Patrick Ethen


Q—Before Never, What’s the story of this video?

A—Before Never is just one part of a series of scenes I filmed and directed that surround the light works of fellow Detroit artist, Patrick Ethan. Originally I had cast a male model, which was to be completely nude for the scene, haha… With an hour left until we were set to begin filming, I still had not heard from him. Strangely – He never gave me a heads up that he was not going to make it. Still haven’t spoken to him since. Luckily I had remembered that a model new to town from Tokyo had reached out to me with interest in working. Shortly after, Miss Angelina Vancheri arrived and she solidified her roll in the film. The production and evolution of these works were crafted with no plans, expectation or thought. Simply going with the flow.

Q—As in other videos from you the soundtrack introduces a kind of ‘lost in translation’ mood. What comes first, the body image and the body movement, or the sound, the spoken words, and the music?

A— The intention is to fuse the vision and sound into one. Zero, one, two, three… etc – All the way to seventy-six. Its duration three minutes and thirty-six seconds long. A meaningless excerpt echoing into eternity.

Q—Contrary to most American videos, your artworks are profoundly enigmatic as if the women in your videos and photographs were landscapes and dreams, just the opposite to the idea of the ‘real thing’, the ‘here and now’, and the ‘heat’ and ‘flesh’ of Warhol. It seems that you are less interested in our shocking world, and in provoking your cultural neighbors than to escape to some kind of deadly heaven, to some regenerated nirvana. The slowness and ritualistic rhythm of body movements, as well as the Babelian words that deliver a kind of mysterious texture to your still images and films, seems to have nothing to do with our perception of Detroit. Are you a typical Detroit artist?

A— The words typical and artist do not belong together, a typical artist cannot even exist! Typical is having distinctive qualities of a particular person or thing. An artist is one who brings something from the unknown into the realm of the known. Something from nothing. A typical artist is an imitator. Do they have their thoughts or do their thoughts have them? My focus is to design a body of work that is free and unaffected by ideas I do not own. I have no intention of making it relatable to anything or anyone other than me because 99.9% of everything is irrelevant. So yes, I have zero interest in your world. A mystery in itself. I just find it more satisfying to compose my own rituals and establish my own dimension. I laughed when you said “deadly heaven”. This must be the place. Vibe on. Detroit is a geo-cosmic superpower.

Q—Last question, how self-conscious are you of your own artwork? What are you looking for with your camera?

A— It goes so far beyond the words and what you see. To even begin, every aspect of my life must be in tune to the highest level of consciousness that I am able to reach. Once I’m in the zone I’m not necessarily looking for anything with the camera, I’m going deeper within myself to attract what I need at that particular moment. When I do my thing and simply exist, I reflect inside-out. The inner journey flows in correlation with your outer experiences and if you are honest and aware – what you are looking for will always be right in front of you.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Your feature image is mesmerizing!


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