Meet NYC-based visual artist David Paul Kay
March 2019 Issue Interview – David Paul Kay Title Option: Universal Simplicity Art In Movement Visual Art
1. What made you travel to NYC?
I’m originally from Eastern Europe, born and raised in the country of Georgia. In 2008 for personal reasons I had to leave the country and move to the US for good. Soon after I moved to NYC, and it’s the best thing that has happened to me.
2. Your creations are synonymous with lines. Is this true for your earlier works or was your style developed later?
I have always painted, experimented in several different mediums. Even though I never went to an art school, I have two degrees; one in Computer Systems and Networking and an another in Law. When I was a child I was trained by my father’s best friend, who was a great artist and calligrapher. He taught me how to build a figure, even how to hold a pencil. Great guy, I owe him a lot for giving the right direction to my spark. After moving to New York I found my own language as an artist. I developed the style I paint and draw in, the one I’m recognized and identified by. As an artist I was born here in the city.
3. In a recent video with Montblanc, you challenge yourself to introduce more colour into your works. How has this impacted the results of your work?
Overall the partnership with Montblanc was a great experience. I have collaborated with major brands before on commission work or live art projects but I cannot compare any experience to this one and that’s why the results were spectacular. It turned into a global partnership and on every level, every single team member I’ve worked with throughout the project has inspired to make art and make this partnership a huge success. One of the elements I tapped into while conceptualizing the project was perhaps bringing red into my work. When I explain black and white to my audience, I always compare it to a musical instrument: let’s say I’m making music – I could write the melody in my head using any instrument but the piano is the one I feel most comfortable and confident with. Black and white keyboard is my playground. In this case, I brought red, a new instrument, a violin perhaps and it sounded perfectly with my piano. I will be incorporating red in my work here and there; it depends, every piece is individual, every thought, every story requires its own way of telling.
4. We noticed your schedule for exhibitions and shows was quite busy last year. What’s your secret in balancing your time and energy between creating work and participating or organising exhibitions?
It has been a busy year or two and I’m glad to see that happen because being busy keeps me inspired: the more I do, the more I want to do. I see it as two sides of the brain. One that gets lost in the thoughts and taps into the infinity bringing inspiration and then focusing on translating that onto a canvas or paper or a cold concrete wall. And the other side that also plays a critical role in making sure that the final piece turns out to be exactly what I want it to be, and that part is a craftsman and a project manager, logistics, communication, marketing, and planning. Often artists are viewed as lazy creatures who just hangout and do nothing, just bounce around some ideas and create things. That’s not completely true; there is a lot of work behind what you see on the wall at the gallery and often that work is not fully appreciated.
5. What is your favourite subject to draw? And Why?
Even though most of my work is abstract, a human face fascinates me. In several of my series throughout the crazy intricate shapes and lines faces emerge. Facial expression and complexion of our face is how we communicate without even saying a word – understanding that language is what gets me inspired. Sometimes I feel like when I’m looking at a person I know what she or he is thinking about; I can profile a person by just looking at their face, how parts of it align, move, or don’t move. I like to ‘people-watch’. There are so many of us and we are so different. We think we are the supreme yet we are not. I like to objectify that false sense of supremacy, then observe and use it for the chain of my thought experiments.
6. In your bio statement, you say “ everything is simply complicated ” – may you elaborate?
The Universe is intricate. The more we learn about it, the more intense it gets and a lot more of the unknown emerges. Yet, I believe that once explained, everything and anything becomes simple; all we need to do is change the perspective. Unexplained it’s complicated, once explained it’s simple. I like to get to the bottom of everything, dig deeper and understand, because once I understand it’s no longer a challenge so that I can tap into another bigger challenge, and on and on. Endlessly. I’m looking outside of my window right now – it just started snowing, small snowflakes falling out of the sky. It seems so complex and intricate, it’s “magical” and confusing, but once you learn and understand the process behind it and how the ‘snow is made,’ it becomes simple. When I see things, I ask “why?” When I do things, I ask “why not?” Curiosity is the birthplace of creativity. The ability to look at anything and see it as a simple object as one, yet being able to see the universe it’s made of, is what can get you to inspire and push to create interesting work.
7. What’s been your career highlight so far?
There have been several. I would point out the recent partnership with Montblanc! Representations in multiple cities here in the US and in Europe. One small detail that I found rewarding as an artist was in Paris last fall. On my second day of visiting that beautiful city and falling in love with it, I was having dinner at a restaurant on the side of the river Seine; great scenery, very Paris. I was with my best friend and a couple of other friends when I noticed a person sitting at a table next to us staring at me. At first I found it a bit awkward but shortly after he comes over to our table, he has my website pulled out on the screen of his phone and with a lovely French accent he ask me “Excuse me, are you David Paul Kay, artist from New York, I have loved and followed your work for a long time”. This was one of the most rewarding experiences yet, in one of my favourite cities – for the first time, randomly my work brings recognition to my face.
8. What are you most excited about for 2019?
2019 had a great start. I’m energized, inspired and motivated. Everyone around me feels the same. It will be a busy year, I can tell and I’m excited to dive right into it. There will be a lot of travelling, a lot of making art both canvas pieces and large-scale monumental work. I always say that success is measured by the distance between you and your happiness – I believe this distance has gotten way shorter in 2019. I don’t get excited, I get inspired, motivated and happy – that’s my formula of happiness.
1. Where/What is your dream canvas? The facade of Guggenheim museum here in the city. I would love to cover it with a gigantic mural one day.
2. Current go to medium? Canvas and oil markers.
3. Current playlist? It’s eclectic, though I’ve been listening to Bjork a lot lately. Love her art.
4. Dream Exhibition Space? The fourth floor of the Whitney Museum, there is something magical about that space.
5. Favourite Drink? Bloody mary, usually virgin.
6. Favourite time to create? Anytime I’m awake.
7. Top travel destination? All of Italy (especially Florence).
8. Magazine: print or online? TIME, hopefully, I can make the cover one day, for all the right reasons.