Meet Gaya Kesten- Art Throng Artist of The Week

Editor´s Note: Art Throng Interviews are a series of artist interviews curated by Art Throng-a global contemporary art curatorial think-tank whose mission is to make art in all its expressions available across cross-cultural platforms. In these weekly interviews, we´ll be covering noteworthy artists from across the world, in different mediums of artistic expression from illustrations to design, sound to performance, photography to portraits, sculptures to motion. Here is our first artist of this weekly series- Gaya Kesten.

Meet Gaya Kesten- a 27-year-old artist based in Brooklyn, New York, and originally from Israel. She is a graphic and motion designer, an illustrator, and loves working with creatives and sound. She graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.

Can you tell us a bit about your work process while creating an artwork?

My work process has definitely developed over the years, but it’s important to me to stick to my techniques. Rule number one: randomness. Rule number two: long fingernails, it helps me loosen up the grip and create a fluent line. When I worked only manually, I used to cut small pieces of Pergament paper and draw with an extremely thin black pen, every part of the illustration separately. Then scan them and create out of the separate pieces a new composition combining them together. Only when this part is done, I could apply the illustration in different techniques: silkscreen print, markers, lithography, and even animation. Since I figured that I might have to work faster, and our world has developed quite a bit, I decided to start working with an iPad. Still working with the same layers method but in a more progressive way, I would say. It’s important to me to keep the simplicity of using mostly lines but in the same breath create complex, random, and maybe weird compositions. Except for being an illustrator, I love combining different fields and creating new worlds. Video art, photography, scanning, motion graphics, animation, sound, installations, and creative direction. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

For me, inspiration is literally everywhere, from the smallest unnecessary detail, all the way to people and their own world. I get a lot of ideas and inspiration out of photography, fashion, and sound. Pop culture fascinates me. Industry fascinates me. People fascinate me.       

You are originally from Israel, what was it like growing up for you did you always know you wanted to become an artist?

Israel is definitely the most beautiful, interesting, maturing, and incredible place to grow up in. I am originally from a small and quiet communal town right between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. Growing up, there wasn’t too much to do there, so everyone goes to community circles, like the Scouts. I was always into the arts and during that time I was always in charge of everything that had to do with creativity. I was very influenced by my mom, she is a very talented textile designer, I loved watching her work and being creative, she was(and still is) very supportive of me going in that direction. Living in Israel, makes you understand reality, appreciate life, and never ever give up. This is a great approach for life, “You can’t wake up and then go to bed”, you need to experience, even if it is a small stupid thing sometimes. Art and design is my way of appreciating, experiencing, and not giving up. I have so much more to go through!

Were you influenced by certain elements from your home country?

I think my fascination with people and randomness is influenced by my home country. Since Israel is such a young country, visually- there are people from all over the world, different ethnicities, different styles. Israelis are very open, sharing and “in your face” kind of society. I think it’s a big part of my creative process, combining worlds together.

Can you tell us a bit about your short film Stain?

“Stain” is a short film inspired by Kafka’s short story that talks about the inability to break through the gates in your own mind. It talks about the gates that separate you from everything around you. The question is – Do they see it also? It talks about our need to hide our problems/personalities/issues as they do not exist, but maybe they are not that big and maybe actually no one sees it as a big deal? 

Are there any future projects you are currently working on ?

Yes! There is always something going on. Currently working on a very exciting merch poster for the upcoming world tour of the Canadian band “Peach Pit”, after they gave me the opportunity to create some animations as covers for their new album and have been so cool and supportive. Also, a video art series with a cool original sound is in the making. 

The unprecedented times that our world is going through at the moment, and the numerous lockdowns across countries. How are you coping with all of this? Have you been creating any work in confinement?

This time obviously caught all off by surprise, and not a good one. I moved to New York in January to follow my goals and dreams, started an internship, and definitely starting to figure out my path. But then because of the escalation of the situation, I had to pack everything quickly and go back to Israel until things will start being back to normal. 

This time though was the most productive for me- I still do the internship from afar, I created a video art social media commercial for a lifestyle brand, I did a few photoshoot sessions and editing for a textile brand worked on some personal project and a collaboration with a sound artist and a few more small projects! It was a great time to take all of your energy towards creativity and focus on work. It made me appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and understand how your environment can affect your creative process.   

Gaya Kesten – Website | Instagram

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