For David Kitz, making art is an investigative pursuit. The Tappan Collective artist seeks out, isolates, and processes aesthetics, human behaviors, and systems of belief that don’t have simple explanations or clear streams of logic. His work exposes forces around us that may be exploitative or coercive and typically tend to go unnoticed. Artistic explorations have brought the UCLA grad into numerous and disparate fields including financial and religious institutions, pornography, and city planning with a camera serving as the perfect tool for the kind of isolation, framing, and collecting his outlook requires. Then, in the case of his drawings, paintings, and collages, he re-imagines, synthesizes, and re-purposes the original imagery from which he works. Read on for more from the artist himself on his methods, desires and sensory preferences.
Tell us a little bit about your new series of work.
Lately, my practice has been split between making pictures in the studio and making pictures in the field. These new photographs on Tappan came about while I was on a two-day Carnival cruise for a friend’s bachelor party. It was my first time being on a cruise ship and the experience was surreal to say the least; everything about it seemed centered around strange and somewhat outdated ideas of decadence, style, and luxury. However, reminders that you’re on an old boat with peeling paint, strict protocols, and dubious sanitation standards are abundant. That said, there were these real moments of beauty that didn’t feel like they were part of the show—they seemed almost accidental. Ultimately, they fall into a larger and slow-developing body of work that pivots around my travels and functions as a sort of journal or diary. While my studio-based work is highly controlled and calculated, I enjoy and feel like I need the counterpoint of a more immediate and spontaneous snapshot approach in the field. There is something about seeing something for the first (and perhaps only) time that I find very generative and expressive. There is less of a risk of over-thinking things.
Did you have breakfast today?
Yep. Had a smoothie.
What is your favorite quote?
Always be a beginner at something.
What kind of camera are you using these days?
I’m mostly using my 4×5 view camera and my Hasselblad, and I guess my iPhone.
When do you make your best work?
Haha. Good question.
What is your favorite color?
Green. I think it’s why I like watching soccer without really caring about the sport.
What is your favorite instrument?
Drums. No doubt about it.
How is your “Invisible Envelopes” series developing?
I think the most recent Invisible Envelopes have been veering a bit more towards abstraction. I’ve become increasingly interested in the idea of a photograph as a veneer and have been playing a lot with texture or the illusion of texture. I’ve also been experimenting with re-photographing black and white subjects with color film. The pictures look black and white at first glance, but there are veins of color that give away the trick.
What is your least favorite sound?
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Anything with chocolate in it.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t eat?
What is your biggest demon?
What is your happy place?
What do you love most about being on the road?
Being away from home and seeing new things makes me pay attention. I think it’s just how my brain works. We are all programmed to focus on new stimuli and tune out the rest. It’s a survival mechanism. Sometimes getting away makes me feel like I’m able to see better, more is getting through the floodgates.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Surfing and a cup of coffee.
What puts you to sleep at night?
Cuddles with my lady.
What would you draw a lover?
Whatever she wanted.
What’s your ideal life at 60?
I want to be making work, spending lots of time with my family, and in nature.
Where is your ideal life?
What do you most admire in a man?
What do you most admire in a woman?
Who is your favorite artist?
I definitely don’t have a favorite. I think James Welling, Roe Ethridge, Jeff Wall, Phil Chang, Mark Hagen, and Luigi Ghirri are up there.
Why do you make art?
I think that there’s a lot that can’t be communicated verbally or through words. I think making art provides a way for me to communicate in ways I couldn’t otherwise. Playing music functions in a similar way. I can’t imagine my life without either.
Who is your hero?
David Kitz’ recently released series of photographs is now available at TappanCollective.com