By Gabé Hirschowitz
Born in the US but now based in Berlin, Kyte Tatt fuses elements of Abstract Expressionism and Impressionism into gorgeous florals painted on antique book pages. Each piece is unique in both its medium and the design of the flower depicted, making his works perfect for creating a gallery wall, for gift giving or for self-gifting. In fact, Kyte’s work is so dynamic, it is the ideal addition to any room or space.
Gabé: What’s your earliest memory of creating art?
Kyte: I would say my earliest memory creating art would be in 1990 when I was just 7 years old, in second grade. I decided to enter a multi-school art contest with the theme “I have a Dream.” On a large poster board I drew myself swimming under the ocean. I filled the page with drawings of fish and ocean life I’d found in an encyclopedia. My dream was to live under the sea–and it won me first prize. I continued in the competition for three more years and won first prize two more times. The last year I competed I remember only winning an honorable mention and did not place. After that I felt defeated, and the fun of competing was over for me. I remember thinking I really wasn’t that good at art after all.
Gabé: What unexpected experiences/ ideas/ things inspire you?
Kyte: I find inspiration in all sorts of places. Mostly I find it in nature, music, poetry
and my experiences in the world. I don’t know that these are unexpected places to find inspiration because it seems quite natural for me.
Gabé: Describe your process: what unique things do you have to do to make the work happen?
Kyte: I would describe my process as free and childlike. I enjoy painting on the floor. I walk on my paintings. I use my hands and fingers to manipulate the medium. I paint with long sticks. I throw paint. I get messy and involved with my work. I don’t prefer my work to look clean and pristine, but honest, innocent, imperfect and human.
Gabé: How would you characterize your artistic esthetic–in five words?
Kyte: I would characterize my aesthetic as “raw, gestural, rough, delicate and free.”
Gabé: You are deserted on a remote planet; what three things do you need to keep your sanity?
Kyte: If I were to be stranded on a remote planet and only could bring three things to stay sane, I would need my dog Petunia–and an endless supply of canvas and paint.
Gabé: Who influences you creatively?
Kyte: I have been inspired and influenced by many artists, past and present: late artists like Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline and Joan Mitchell, as well as more contemporary ones like Jorge Galindo, Marta Jungwirth and Arne Quinze.
Gabé: If you had a time machine, which period in art history would you visit and why?
Kyte: If I had a time machine I wouldn’t travel back very far. I’d go to the beginning of the contemporary art period, in the 1960s-’80s. So much action was happening in this period that would have been fun to contribute to, and I would have loved getting to know some of the eventual legends at the time–maybe meet Cy Twombly in his Rome studio and discuss art and our experiences leaving the US, or possibly brushing shoulders with Keith Haring at a San Francisco soiree. Maybe I’d even visit Joan Mitchell and her 13 dogs on her two-acre estate in Giverny, France and lodge in Claude Monet’s gardener cottage.
Gabé: What’s the best exhibition/show you’ve ever seen (not including your own)?
Kyte: The best exhibition I’ve been to is, hands down, Jorge Galindo’s “Flower Paintings” show in collaboration with Pedro Almodovar at Germany’s Schloss Derneburg. The show was held inside of an old castle in the countryside and featured other amazing art giants like Kristina Grosse and Hermann Nitsch.
Gabé: What three living artists would you like to have a group show with?
Kyte: The three living artists I would love to have a group show with I already mentioned above: definitely Jorge Galindo, Marta Jungwirth and Arne Quinze.
Gabé: What would you be doing right now if you weren’t an artist?
Kyte: The question of what I would be doing if I weren’t an artist is a simple one with only two possible answers: dead or homeless. I decided that when I took this path, either the world would have me as an artist or I’d die. I know with all my heart that this is what I’m meant to do. There really aren’t any other acceptable options for me. If I can’t earn a living doing what I love, I’d rather live on a park bench or in a van on the side of the road–and I’m no stranger to the second option.