Katz Transforms Areas Through Art, Technology
By Sandra Coopersmith
Curiosity and enthusiasm are certainly primary colors in the engaging personal palette of David Arthur Katz.
"I've been working as a digital artist for almost 25 years," this longtime Culver City resident said. "There's nothing more satisfying in the middle of the day than to just get on the computer and start working. I never know what's going to come out of it and I really like sharing it with others."
Clearly, what comes out of it is colorful, contemporary, cutting edge and downright impressive.
"When I was 19 I went to New York and for the first time started studying art by just going to the Museum of Modern Art," Katz reminisced. "The first two paintings that really influenced me were Picasso's Guernica and Monet's Water Lilies." Matisse's Jazz series also had a strong impact, and "even today I think about his work. It helps inspire me."
This Miami-born artist, who graduated from the University of South Florida with a Master's degree in art education, began his art training under Duane Hanson, an artist renowned for his pop art social statements.
"For me, the important thing about art is the sense of connection," Katz said. "It's all about the sense of discovery, kind of like a dream when you wake up and say, did I dream that? It's the same feeling when drawing or painting or creating any form of art – did I do that? It's almost like rediscovering yourself or something hidden inside you."
His graphics and animations are in many museums and collections, and his works were also selected for numerous national and international film festivals. His myriad accomplishments include illustrating several children's books, speaking at the Digital Video Expo, and writing articles for Architect's Newspaper and ArtLA Magazine.
Although Katz is currently focused on fabric, glass, plexiglass and metal, he is "pushing toward the glass medium. It can be used for both interiors and exteriors of buildings, like glass façades which can be digitally enhanced with many different forms and colors."
Two of his pieces, one in glass and one in plexiglass, were recently on exhibit at the Los Angeles Chapter gallery of the American Institute of Architects. "This chapter is one of the biggest in the country with over 4,000 members," he said.
Adding that "these pieces are digitally printed and the technology can make some very exciting possibilities," Katz described some of the uses to which his works can be adapted.
"The plexiglass piece can be utilized in many ways because it comes in different sizes," he explained. "As it is now, it's perfect for what I call desktop art, which means you don't have to hang it. A client of mine used a particular plexiglass piece on a stand in the bookcase and it really looked beautiful that way. There are many other uses because these can be enlarged and used as dividers and splashboards. They can also be framed and used more traditionally on the wall."
His glass piece can also be used as desktop art or can be placed in a window.
"I'm very excited about this new glass technology," Katz added, "because basically the glass dyes are made from crushed glass so they're permanent; you can take a digital image, print it on the glass and it will last forever. It's basically scratchproof and can be used not only for windows and doors but also for giant murals and glass façades. This digital glass process was originally invented by Israeli technology, and now American companies are starting to use it on glass for commercial purposes. The possibilities are endless."
The inspiration for both his plexiglass and glass pieces came from HiColor animation projects which he did over a number of years.
"It was the luminosity and transparency that both plexiglass and glass offer that made me excited about the possibilities," Katz explained, noting that "when you do animation there are 5,000 files that go by so quickly, people cannot focus on one particular image."
And his images are well worth focusing on.
His goal is, someday, to make glass façades for both homes and buildings, since "all the ink is so permanent and there is no fading with time. In fact, I've had a piece of glass in my window for almost 10 years and it looks like the day I printed it."
Katz spoke warmly of the HOK architectural firm.
"I have a soft spot for HOK because it was my first job with this new artistic expression, digital printing on plexiglass," he said. "HOK is one of the largest architectural firms in the country, with offices in many different states and an office here in Culver City. The piece I did for HOK was utilized in the Sony/ATV kitchen as a splashboard. It's over 10 feet long and I'm very proud of it."
After visiting many architectural firms in Culver City, Katz concluded that "there are some really wonderful ones here and it's really fun to go and show them my stuff."
He values the collaborative process.
"When I have a job, what makes me feel really good is that the architects are, of course, happy with the work," he said. "I love it when someone looks at something I've done and says, 'Wow! Yeah, that's it!' But beyond that, if I have learned something new and different because of the collaboration and have grown, I feel the work is particularly successful."
Katz, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, believes that "because of the technological innovations that architecture can create, it will be the dominant art form of the 21st century. I've always looked to the future when it comes to art, and the cutting edge future is definitely architectural forms and designs. I really like working with architects and designers because in terms of the environment I just think it's a really wonderful way to integrate our work."