Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Art Space Talk: Jesse Reno

I recently interviewed artist Jesse Reno. Jesse is a painter who is interested in capturing the essence of truth with his work. This truth is expressed through symbols that reveal the inner struggle of the artist and his views of society. In a sense, Mr. Reno offers himself to the viewer. However, his work is open to interpretation.

Mr. Reno observes each mark upon the canvas as a form of thought. Thus, each layer of paint is a collection of thoughts that reveal the self-introspection and visualization of Jesse. Thus, his paintings can be 'read' as if they are pages from a diary.

This bold self-exploration gives his work an authentic voice. I observe his work as a form of bare-bones communication in that he cuts to the core of the human condition. He achieves this end by utilizing symbols and embracing the virtue of primitivism.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "Art has been my obsession as long as i could hold a pencil.. ive always seen images in abstraction and tried to draw or create what i saw.. id say since i was about 5 drawing has been my most dominate activity.. i would draw all day in school i would rush to finish my tests just so i could draw on the back.. so aware or not id say art has been at the center of my life since i was 5.."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Creating art has shaped me completely.. my entire life changed when i began painting full time it was at this time i really began to understand living.. im always painting to find out what im really feeling.. i follow the stories i tell my self and let them guide my life.. looking inward for who i really am and what im really trying to accomplish.. this has given me a great sense of self and direction.. ive gained confidence in my choices and my self.."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Society influences everything.. i try to let it influence my art only in subject not in creation or implications.. i tell stories about life dreams and the things i see and feel.. so in this way there are many ideas and images that come as a side effect of society.."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "My biggest influence is the art left behind by primitive and indigenus people.. there inward quest for creation and understanding is at the basis of all my work.. outside of this my biggest single inspiration has been one of my best friends christopher giordani who really pushed me to begin painting.. with out his motivation and push i would have probably never taken my art seriously.. chris is a self taught mixed media painter/ artist.."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "Before i ever dreamed of being a painter i wanted to be an archeologist and study ancient cultures.. this is at the center of my creative process and the images with in it.. the stories in my paintings all come from my life and experience. they are reflections of my thoughts and feelings which find me through long hours of random intensions and reflection.. the end result is a layered vision of what i experience and what i must do to meet my goals.. they are illustrations of my understanding of the world that surrounds me and the world i seek to see and exist in.. this has been my never ending daydream as long as i can remember.."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "I can not pinpoint the characteristics of the people who collect my work they seem to be all over the map.. ive sold to 16 year old punk rock kids, college professors, micro surgeons, kerry king of the black metal band slayer, and rosie odonell tv personality in the same week.. if you can find the connection id love hear it myself.. it seems the only thing they all share is a feeling they get from my work.. its seems there biggest consistant coment i get is a feeling they get when they look at my work.."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "Shaman (image above)– we must make our own rainbows.. i was thinking about shamans, totem poles the connection of man to nature, mans connection to himself.. our quest for happiness and purpose.. looking beyond ourselves, to what you know but can not see. This is essential to maintaining the energy to reach your potential.. i thought of the incredible inspiration we must have felt when we thought of animals as gods and ourselves as a part of nature.. great mountains and powerful winds the intensity of fire.. i imagined the shaman on an inner quest for understanding, and all the proverbs that tell us to seek our own happiness. I thought of my own happiness that comes fom painting and my own quest for self understanding.. i thought of how good it feels to be able to pull yourself from negativity thru creation.. like making your own rainbows.."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "My artistic process is to create with spontanieous and random intentions until i see things that excite me.. i refine, and paint over the images constantly, working on 7 to 10 painitngs at any given time.. the idea is to let go of ideas and see those waiting for me.. letting ideas and passing thoughts guide me through creating and editting the images i see.. never being afraid to destroy what is not final or true.. by pushing through layers of imagery and retelling the ongoing story of passing thoughts i find in the end what is most important to me.. the truth behind my actions, intentions, and desires.. the things that make me happy and sad.. it is only then that i can follow my path and hope to know and attain my goals."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I choose my materials and mediums based on tactical feel, and for the visual appearance.."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art?

A. "I am completely self taught and have no intention of attending school.. i feel this has helped my career in many ways.. by finding my own methods and reasons for creation i have attained a high level of confidence in myself and in my work.. with no schooling to offer me direction on how to be a full time artist i have used many alternative methods for selling and promoting my art, and have avoided many of the hang ups ive seen in other artists.."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "You can see over 800 examples of my work on my website - http://www.jessereno.com my work can also be seen in galleries, books, magazines, skateboards, and walls both nationally and internationally.."

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

A. "I am still a self represented artist booking and managing my own schedule and shows.. i have a few close gallery relationships and am represented by a handful of galleries."

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "Im really focused on my own work, when i engage in the art community i try to look at work individually rather than as a part of a bigger whole.. im pretty to myself and seek individual interactions rather than mass interpritations..."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "My best advice is paint every day.. paint for yourself.. paint over whatever you dont like.. if you paint seven paintings a week for 3 years you will make serious progress.. once you have emassed paintings you are proud of be sure to show them.. you can not succeed unless you push yourself.. any time your are turned down for a show search until you get one, this way you are never let down..."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "I create to find the ideas that will guide me to my goals..."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?

A. "If you do not paint long enough you will not learn the right lesson, yet the truth will be waiting..."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Jesse Reno. Feel free to critique or discuss his work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...


Beverly Kaye said...

Jesse Reno is one of the finest painters of the 21st century. I treasure the pieces I own by him, and hope to add more to my collection. He is a lovely human being and a very talented man. Great interview!