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Alumni in Action: Nate Mohler ’15 Pursues Media Arts

Nate Mohler ’15 has been pursuing media arts as a lead artist at Refik Anadol Studios, a studio run by the eponymous media artist dedicated to creating beautiful art installations. Mohler has provided assistance in various studio projects, such as WDCH Dreams and Culver Current. 

When discussing how he got interested in media arts, Mohler mentioned how he was first intrigued by Photoshop and how its tools can be used for creative purposes. He would mess around with the program to create weird glitch art and collages.  This would help inspire him to start pursuing media art as it gave him the ability to create something that he’d never seen before.

Mohler took Painting and AP Studio Art at Loyola High School and worked as an editor for the Windowpanes literary magazine. He then went on to study Design and Media Arts at UCLA, though at first he wasn’t very sure of what to do. Nate used to do many different things involving design at UCLA, such as doing touring visuals for musicians, but this all changed when he began working with Refik Anadol, a professional media artist and UCLA professor.

Regarding how he transitioned into media arts, Mohler noted, “I was interning with a lot of places to try and see what I wanted to do, and I worked for one of my professors at the time, Refik Anadol, and he introduced me to the world of public art and taking media art a little more seriously as an art form.”

Media art is a type of artwork that utilizes technology for its presentation. This includes digital art, computer graphics, virtual art, computer animation, interactive art and 3D printing. Refik Anadol is a media artist born in Istanbul, Turkey, who currently lives and works in Los Angeles as a lecturer and researcher in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. He has been a recipient of multiple awards, from Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award to the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Award.

Mohler worked at Refik Anadol Studio in the summer of 2018. He described the studio as an intimate setting, filled with computers rendering projects that can take up to a month and populated by only a few architects and artists.  

Mohler would often get his inspirations in the shower, where he had time to think.

He explained, “I can just zone out and focus on one thing, and I try to think multiple steps ahead. It’s very important for me to be able to see the end product in my mind before starting it, even if it’s months and months away.”

When asked about what he hopes to improve on during his pursuit in media art, Mohler answered, “I want to get better at bringing on people and working on projects as a team instead of just doing projects by myself.”

Finally, Mohler shared some advice for future students pursuing media arts: “Style your own niche and your own passions into whatever it is. People will recognize that and really find a similarity with that. You don’t have to be the best at Photoshop, you don’t have to be the best at editing videos. You just have your own way of editing it.”

The most recent work of Mohler is the Culver Current, a water-less digital fountain and sculpture in Culver City at City Hall. Nate Mohler features his artwork on his personal website:


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