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Interview with Deepa Kataria

Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?


My name is Deepa Kataria. I am an abstract landscape painter. I was born in Mumbai, India and grew up in New York City, United States. I found my passion for arts in India’s Junior High School. This gave me a pathway to continue my arts education at high school in Queens, New York. My passion and love for the arts was further nurtured when I was accepted at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. After successful completion of my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007, I was determined to bring my artistic skills to a professional level.


 I then decided to come to San Francisco Academy of Art University in order to earn my MFA degree. I have two years of classical training with emphasis on abstraction. Being the graduating class of Spring 2015, I am looking forward to my Solo Thesis Show coming up in October 1st to October 28th, 2015, at 625 Gallery at Sutter Street. 


Did you have any rewarding experiences or interactions with teachers while you studied at the Academy?

Yes. Every teacher has played an important role in my MFA learning process at the Academy of Art University. One example, Prof. Bao Ping Chan told me that painting is a reflection of the artist. Further studying with my tutor Ho Jun Lee during classical training brought up the same concept and taught me in depth how the artist’s works reflects the artist’s life (values, character, and lifestyle). I learned at that point that core values between abstraction and realism are the same for the artists.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?


I see myself participating in group and solo shows consistently and planning solo shows for next five years.



Are you having any upcoming group or individual shows that you would like to share with us?


One can check my upcoming events at


Did you have any particular class or teacher that really opened your eyes? Why?


Yes. Prof. Cameron Wasson, the color theory teacher really opened my eyes. I was blind as an artist about colors till Prof. Wasson introduced to me the Analogous Split Complimentary Color Scheme. She taught me everything about color and light and temperature and key color. Plus achieving deadlines, tidiness, clean workspace, work ethics, discipline and how to make professional presentations.



What inspired your path to art?


Freedom to express and my passion and love for the arts is my inspiration. 



Who is your most motivating supporter?


My most motivating supporter is my Family and my teachers. I could not have done it without them.



Hardest lesson you learned?


The hardest lesson I learned was that only through hard work, honesty, dedication, patience, determination, consistency, and professionalism, and not giving up, one can achieve his/her dream. 



What advice would you give to students?


Students ask about which teachers to take classes with. One student’s experience will not be same as another student’s experience. They need to experience the class themselves and how they bind with that certain teacher. For example: I was told Prof. Wasson was the hardest teacher ever; but deep down in my heart I knew I liked the challenges. I followed my heart and I learned so much about color. 



What are you currently obsessed with?


Currently I am obsessed with what my mentor and Prof. Carolyn Meyer taught me:  “Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, don’t think, paint, paint, paint, get it…” I am obsessed with painting and marketing to find my place in the art world.



What would people be surprised to learn about you?


I have utmost respect for realism and that I am good at it.



What is your favorite quote?


“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” Pablo Picasso



Any advice you would like to give to new incoming freshmen?


Academy of Art University has so many resources for incoming freshmen to succeed, for example, the ARC Learning Center, supplemental Workshops for every class, the Spring Show, to name just a few. It has the best location and facilities in San Francisco to learn and apply your skills. It has a remarkable reputation here, in New York and around the world. My advice is: look for help and opportunity will be waiting.