Grotesquely Beautiful… Two words I never thought I would use in the same sentence. That’s what came to mind the first time I saw Billy Reynolds art. Several themes and art styles can be found in each stoke of madness and brilliance. Another thing I learned is one person can never have too many boobs :p! I’m excited to see what he will create and what the future holds for Billy Reynolds. I recently had a chance to talk with Billy and here’s the man himself…
BBM: How’s life treating ya?
Life is pretty good.
BBM: What would you say was your first major experience with art and how did you know it was for you?
As a toddler in my crib, I took my dirty diaper and spread the diaper fillings all over the wall next to the crib. This was not only my first piece of art, but it was also a mural, though I have not created another mural since then. This was the story that stuck with my family, repeated a thousand times as to how I made my first art piece. If only I could remember how fun it must have been.
BBM: Give our readers a little history about yourself:
I grew up in a large desert West Texas town without much cultural influence, but I was always good at recreating images and working with any medium I worked with. I’ve always been on the quieter side and had the ability to get more of a reaction out of people with the images that I create instead of the words that I say.
BBM: What are some current projects you’re working on?
For a year now, my images begin digitally, through digital photography that I take myself, and through digital imagery that I manipulate in Photoshop and on a Wacom tablet. This is has been a great experience to start digitally, vs. starting with sculpting like I did for 8 years prior. So i’m currently working on new ways to show my portrait with cutaway views of my insides. I work on about 2 pieces simultaneously. The Wacom tablet is an amazing thing, just like painting is, and you can spend hours on subtle nuances in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet and pen. But I think that final unique one-of-a-kind paintings are very important, so I can’t stop at the digital image, I have to create a painting out of the digital creations.
I’m always in awe of Francis Bacon. His figures are so grotesque, yet he’s so popular and so perplexing. Any artist who has pushed the boundaries of the human figure, although the work might look perverse or grotesque, is a positive influence to me. Art is a great and safe way to test boundaries, and figurative art that tests boundaries really gets under people’s skin in unexpected ways.
BBM: Three words that describe your art?
Deviant. Grotesque. Figurative.
BBM: What are your tools off the trade?
iMac, Canon Rebel digital SLR, pro color printer, lots of lighting, oil paint, acrylic paint, or watercolor paint, and therefore linen, illustration board, or watercolor paper, lots of patience, and lots of time.
BBM: How would you say your art style has evolved since starting?
One of the most rewarding components of art making is allowing oneself to evolve one’s creations. I always leave open a path for evolution to occur, and when it does, exciting and unexpected results emerge. When you find yourself creating engaging things that you never planned on, that makes it all worthwhile. I used to create abstract work in acrylic for almost a decade, and feeling very satisfied in doing so. Then my first serious figurative work was simplified cartoon-based. Now as you can see with my images here, the work is quite different.
BBM: Where do you find Inspiration in life?
My art leads me to reading non-fiction about life and watching lots of documentaries on Netflix. From this, I had the deep realization that we rotate around the earth’s axis at about 1,000 miles per hour (in the mid-upper hemisphere), and the earth revolves around the sun at a speed of about 67,000 miles per hour. If you think about this at it’s deepest level, that’s pretty amazing. In one hour, your body has moved 1,000 miles following the surface of the earth. Yet we don’t even feel it. That’s inspiration.
BBM: How’s the art scene in your city?
Los Angeles is a great place for art, and it’s always growing. From the big name galleries to galleries promoting new and emerging artists, there is something for everyone. You have to plan a lot though, since it’s a car city and the traffic will limit your ability to see everything in one day.
BBM: Funniest/ Most Memorable career moment?
The funniest moment I think was when I was in graduate art school at the San Francisco Art Institute, and one of my first crazy paintings was of an Elmo-like head on a baby’s body and one arm was a big round breast. This really got the attention of a lot of people, and it really upset all of the women. I found the whole thing funny. The painting had a lot of effort in it, the guys found it hilarious and the women couldn’t handle it, and the piece sold quickly while I was still in graduate school. Then I realized that controversy is probably a good thing.
BBM: Whats a long term career goal for you?
To be an independent artist/entrepreneur and work for myself.
BBM: A fact a fan may not know about you?
I’m left handed.
BBM: Besides art what are some of your passions?
That’s about it. After a job, art making, and going to art shows, there’s only time for enjoying friends, a drink, and rest.
BBM: Whats currently in heavy rotation in your Ipod?
Eminem – the perfect paradigm for an artist to constantly find inspiration in themselves and reinvent him or herself.
BBM: What are some words of wisdom you would give a youth wanting to be an artist?
Invest time in making things, not just talking about making things, and invest in getting to know people and realize people are just as important as the art you make, because people decide if they want you in shows or if they want your art on the walls of their homes. And be realistic about the future – you might have amazing skills, but you also might need another set of practical skills to have a good day job.
BBM: Where can fans find the latest news about you and get prints?
www.billyreynolds.com , Twitter: @Billy_Reynolds, Tumbler: billyreynolds
BBM: Any last words anything you want to add?
Never stop! I heard somewhere, and I believe this, that the biggest breakthroughs in what you are working on come just after the point at which you are willing to give up and stop.