Artist Spotlight: Nick Kita
Interview by Alex Grover, Editor-in-Chief
Transcribed by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer
Months ago, I trapped a young photographer into a long conversation that he probably didn’t want to have. He had the misfortune of having his work accepted in the Spring 2013 issue of Yorick, so I knew that his artistic insight would be beneficial to our dear community. When I successfully cornered him, he gave me the “dark eyes,” the look of frustration when you can’t get out of dodge and you subtly admit defeat. Here is an abridged interview with Nick Kita, possible double agent, definite swagger.
Alex: Where has photography taken you in life?
Nick: Socially, it’s pretty cool what being a photographer does at a college. Just this weekend I was able to go and photograph Profstock and being at, being at the front of the stage everyone is dying for your attention. Everyone wants to go home and see themselves and it’s pretty cool. You know I never, I never really wanted to bend for people to become their friends, so it hasn’t made me exuberantly popular, if that’s the right word. It hasn’t made me the coolest kid on campus, but it definitely helped me be at the front of some social experiences and that’s pretty cool. Business wise—it’s pretty funny, because I never intended to take it toward a business aspect. I always liked photography, I’d always thought it was a cool thing to do, but I guess I’ve been blessed with somewhat of a raw talent because everybody, not everyone, let me rephrase…
Nick: …enough people talk to me and go, “Wow, you’re a really great photographer!” and I say, “Thank you.” I appreciate that, but you are the biggest critique of your own work. So, people have been pushing me toward it, to take it towards a business standpoint, and for me as a nineteen-year-old just turned twenty-year-old kid, I was comfortable making $9.50 at my Smoothie King and selling all those retail products. But when you can work six hours and make $500 easy, and that’s the lowest you’ll make, it’s kind of hard not to say, “Wow! I really love doing this! Why not make money doing it?” So business is coming second for me, but it’s going to be a priority and it’s going to keep me afloat whether or not it takes me deeper in the future with photography and that’s where most of my income will come from, or if it’s just a hobby that can help me buy cool stuff.
Alex: (laughs) Yeah. Well, you talk about this raw talent—what do you think that means? And what, how do you see yourself refining that raw talent?
Nick: I think it’s more raw talent for me in the way I’m trying to define it. I have an innate ability to see the beauty in the mundane. So, when I see something that normally someone would look at and say “Wow, that’s not that beautiful, that’s not cool,” I can see myself in a different light, in a different aspect, from a different perspective and make it beautiful. I can…with all my social experiences and how my first passion people, my second passion is experiences and my third passion is success. So, I’ve grown to know how people act and what usually comes next in a series of event, series of conversations and I can, I can predict when that perfect shot’s going to happen. But again, that can just come from practice with photography.
Alex: Yeah, so it’s almost this weird, precognitive, artistic…
Nick: …disposition that I have.
Alex: It comes through in your work no matter what. And just to jump around, it definitely shows in your piece, “i play even though i know my sound falls on deaf ears.” It’s just very, it’s just very moving because everyone around him is static and there he is at the center. Tell me about that piece.
Nick: Yeah, just to go back to what I said before, finding the beauty in the mundane. What I wanted to emphasize the most in that piece is how this old man, one of our elders if you will, is sitting there, he’s most likely retired, I don’t know his name, I didn’t ask his name, I probably should’ve reflecting on this, but everybody in this world, we always move so fast. Here we are on a vacation, a vacation location, a getaway, and everyone is running past this beautiful artistic expression, they don’t notice him. People who are sitting behind him are on their cellphones, they’re looking in other directions, they’re talking to their partners and stuff like that, no one really stood and stopped to embrace the moment that he was providing for us. So I saw that, and saw that he was a very talented man, and I wanted to capture the picture. Though he is not named in the photo, I don’t know his name, I heard he plays there for, he’s played there for years and if I ever went back again I would most definitely ask for his name, maybe do a story on him, photojournalism, that’s something that interests me. That was a very cool, very cool guy. It was more or less to emphasize how quickly we move and how we overlook some of the coolest things. They’re right in front of our face and we walk right past never giving them a chance to blossom and bloom and become this great thing.
Alex: Your other piece was very interesting too. It’s almost, it’s almost kind of eerie, it was “Our Time Has Come.”
Nick: Yeah, yeah. What I was really trying to portray there was this existentialist type of artwork where, what I was going for was the very spiritual—I’m just totally kidding. It was a foggy day.
Nick: It was a foggy day and I told my RA, Ojas Patel at the time, I said, “Yeah Ojas, yeah come on, I love fog.” I really wanted to do this low-key photo shoot and so we walked over to the back of Edgewood Park Apartments, and there’s this light shining down, and I said, “Go ahead, jump, make it look like you’re levitating.” And it took about twenty shots just to get that one shot. I mean, as funny as, as much meaning as can be put into one photo, a totally…pointless, floorless meaning can be given. I mean there’s just, there’s just no meaning, no meaning for that photo, it was just a spur of the moment thing and I was like, “This looks cool, let me take it.” But the title again, as I went and reflected on it, it could mean so much to so many people. He’s in the shape of a cross, Christians could interpret it that way, and they could think, “Oh, it’s Jesus rising up.” Say I took that photo and I, I didn’t reveal it until Easter, you know, it’s, there are so many ideas that can be derived from something, and it’s all really what you see in art, and it’s what makes art and music and these creative expressions that you, that humans can create, that the human population can create, that’s what makes it so interesting to me. Now, my interpretation, I just, I simply know the facts. How I want it to be interpreted? There simply is no wrong answer. Take what you need from it.
We talked for roughly two hours, and in that barrage of ideas and ideals in April’s chill, I felt this cool connection to this fellow whose job was his passion, whose passion was an organ much like his heart. This next part was the last bit we suffered through, but I might just have enjoyed it the most.
Nick: Photography is part of me now, and it’s not like I can separate business from my normal life. I can’t separate work from my normal life because I love what I do. I try and be as humble as possible, because, I have no, I don’t have anything to back up me being the best. I just have my creative art expression, I just have my portfolio, and some people like it, some people love it, some people hate it.
Alex: Do you ever think that you’ll be the best?
Nick: To some people, yeah, absolutely, I’ll be the best to some people. I’ll be the worst to some people. It’s all, it’s all (sighs) it all depends on which spectrum you look at it from. Maybe I’m the best to my father, maybe I’m the worst to my mother. Who knows. Δ
Submit your artwork and photography to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline is August 1st.
Posted on July 18, 2013, in Cool Stuff and tagged alex grover, artwork, literary magazine, nick kita, nick kita photography, photojournalism, photos, Rowan University, sam levenberg, spring issue, yorick magazine. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.