“Katai captures what can be called ‘contemporary counter-culture’ seen through the use of subtle color, imagination, and intent. Heavily inspired by ancient eastern spirituality he addresses modern day concerns with the use of photography, cinematography, and digital manipulation. Katai explores concepts such as identity, propaganda, and meditation with a reactionary method of creation, resulting in honest images translating our current condition into sublime works of art,” explains Jessica Allie, who will lead the Q&A with Katai after the screening of Moksha at The Playground March 25th.

As a Detroit-based visual artist, photographer and videographer, his work takes him on travels across the world in search of universal truth; capturing the trippy, the mystical and the magical, utilizing his camera and intuition to freeze transcendent moments. He focuses on aspects of nature to create enhanced visual experiences around “concepts of meditation & zen using stills & motion pictures that often remove the concept of time,” according to the artist.

He is a young ‘star’ [at 23 years old] in the sense that he sees himself part of the universe; a creative energy operating within the natural world that he is deeply connected. Recurring themes of nature, powerful landscapes, psychedelic trees, and eerie steaming manholes create a visual language entirely his own. As a solo creative producer Katai works, lives and travels by himself; yet he has been sought out to collaborate with a roster of incredible talent in their own right, executing otherworldy visuals on their behalf.  Katai has produced work for various artists including Kali Uchis, Robb Banks, Nana Ghana, Shorty K, Nil Bambu, Sarah Alsalman and Relly Nation.

On March 25th, PLAYGROUND DETROIT is pleased to present Moksha, a short film and solo exhibition of his work- the first time he will be showing publicly in his hometown of Detroit. Pre-sale tickets for 8pm and 9pm screenings are online now through March 20th, with regular price tickets available after and at the door while limited quantities are available.

How long have you lived in Detroit?

I’ve lived in Detroit for eight years now. I was raised up in the Dearborn area. As soon as I was able & had a choice, I moved to the D. The city resonates within me, naturally I feel I vibe in it. Detroit is powerful.

What are your mediums of choice as an artist?

As an artist I create my own medium – something similar to a black hole that allows you to enter into extra dimensions.

How long have you been a practicing artist? 

I’ve been practicing since 2005 when I picked up my first film camera. Everything blossomed nicely from there. The camera went hand in hand with my life path. It made me look at things differently, now I see things that I could never imagine possible. The camera is nothing. Awareness is everything.

What inspires you? 

In general, I’m inspired by funky-looking trees; trees go deep man. The animals inspire me too… I had learned a great deal from a black bear once, and for some reason owls dig me. I dig them too. Creatures of the night. Specifically, I’m inspired by Shaolin Monks in China.

Who are influential artists in your life?

Osho and Charles Manson.

What about your creative process have you found to be the most successful for you?

My art is just a reflection of my Self. The best is when I have nothing on my mind. Time doesn’t exist. I don’t mind no time.

What is the most important concept or theme that your work revolves around? Has this evolved over time?

Unknown this. The real question should be, has time evolved around you? [Hmmm…good question.]

Do you like to collaborate?

I collaborate. I see something I love or something I love sees me & we make love.

Can you pick one piece of work that you would consider your favorite?

What I’m working on right now is my favorite. 


mOkShA ~ official trailer from KATAI

What is the concept behind the show you are installing at The Playground?

The concept behind “Moksha” is simple. It is arriving to a silence within. Removing your self from the duality of life & death. Peace.

Do you have more projects and shows on the horizon for you?

[I’m] working on a film project down south in Watts in the Nickerson Garden Projects, as well as a short film here in Detroit called ‘Cherry Street.’ Blak Air is dropping which involves aspects of kung fu, fashion & psychedelia.  I’m on my way deep south to work with some special artists from Jamaica & Trinidad at this moment. 

Why do you live and make work in Detroit?

I’ve been to all the big cities in the country & it has helped me realize how relaxing & beautifully dangerous Detroit is. I gotta hold it down during this period of intense transformation. I am Detroit.

What do you love about Detroit?  What do you like to do?

I prefer cruising the backstreets late at night & vibing out making visual pieces.  There are a few secret spots I enjoy viewing the sunrise at & Belle isle used to be jammin, but since the big government took over its not as lit. 


What are challenges as an artist in Detroit?

“It gets so cold in the D.”

Describe what you imagine Detroit to be in 10 years.

In ten years… I don’t want to think about it but I hope everyone is growing gardens, planting trees & living more efficiently.