Alexander Reyna is a self-admitted narcissist when it comes to his artwork. He finds inspiration for his work from graffiti, advertising, and other self promotional imagery found on the street as well as TV and of course, video games. In addition to art heâ€™s proficient in finance and calls himself a â€œgloom financial bear.â€ But no matter how good the economy is doing or amount of artwork sold, you wonâ€™t catch him dead buying one of those fat lady paintings from Botero. He does, however, find rats way underrated and thinks that they can actually be loving, tenacious, and sure to die a horrible cancerous death. Oh, and he once saw an elephant in an African zoo imitate his dad. Welcome to Alexander Reynaâ€™s World.
Tell us about how you make your art. What’s your process?
My art works at the cross section of idiosyncratic fixation and cultural output. What this means, for me, is that things are made in this world by Individuals or corporations, and presented in the form of advertisement, media, branding, or anything else. It’s all visual culture and cultural production but I fixate on those things that bound my everyday life. Other artists, graffiti, video games, television, internet, porn, advertisements on the streets of New York-all are what I’m drawn to and choose to represent.
From here I take a mental snapshot if the imagery, store it for later use, and begin to build compositions which reference that imagery. Sometimes the work is painting, sometimes video but it’s all rooted in the same formula of search, retrieval, and re-contextualization.
Who is your Art for?This is a bit of a tricky question but I’ll answer it in two fold:
#1. My art is absolutely and wholly for myself. In this regard the work is totally narcissist.
#2. My art is absolutely and wholly for everyone else but myself. I believe in the notion that artists have something to give, that our cultural production is meaningful and can serve as some sort of testament to the contemporary world. If you think about it this way someone like Monet is important both for being an artist but also for documenting things like the Industrial Revolution in France.
Here’s where it gets tricky though because, as I’ve already said, my work is for and about myself on some levels. So, yes I’m making a cultural product for the greater world but that product is really just a rhetorical statement about me and what I see.
What is your Art supposed to do? The aim of the Nike commercial is to get you to buy the shoes. The aim of the Movie is to get you to but the tickets, popcorn, and jellybeans. It’s all a form of corporatized consumer seduction. My work, since it emulates the form of media, is attempting to do the same thing but the seduction is more about making the viewer adore the piece despite itself.
What is your art worth?My life.
What single work of art would you most like to destroy?
If cinema=art, then Iâ€™d like to destroy the original master print and all the copies of â€œA Sound of Thunderâ€. Itâ€™s too bad because I read the short story the move is based on as a child and loved the idea. But the movie is terrible.
Name one crappy “Artist”: Thomas Kinkade, The “Painter of Light.” Now name another one: Botero
Best museum: The Museum of Sex, except Iâ€™ve never been to one in America and doubt Iâ€™d go because then I might get caught inside and have to explain myself. Worst museum: Micro-museum. I’ve never been inside, have no idea what it’s like but drive by it all the time on my way to the studio. Maybe it’s cool, maybe it’s crap but in the end it just looks like a storefront shoebox.
Describe the finest moment of your artistic endeavors: The feeling I have when I finish a piece and I’m convinced it’s amazing and perfect but just before that feeling that what I just finished is not as good as the piece I’ll make next time.
NOW GET DOWN AND GIVE US 19
1. Favorite ANIMAL: The Rat-underrated, smart, affectionate, and tenacious except they tend to die of horrible cancerous tumors.
2. What gets you excited? The same things as everyone else but more pink.
3. Worst Job: It pays six figures but it must be horrible. It’s the Crime Scene Cleaner. Dream job: I think I have it already. My life is my dream job, but it’s still a pain in the ass sometimes.
4. Best kept secret about NYC: You can make it here if you tryâ€¦ (Really, you can, but you canâ€™t quit when someone kicks you in the head a few times)
5. What would you do if you found ALLOT of cash in a cab? Put most of it into my kidâ€™s bank account and hope she uses it well.
6. Favorite website: Calculatedrisk.blogspot.com, a blog for economists and doom and gloom financial bears like myself. This also proves the point that artists are into more than just pretty pictures and post modern theory. Most embarrassing favorite website: Fuckedcompany.com, a website focused on reporting when and how companies screw their employees, explode, lose money, and lay everyone off. It’s a good read.
7. Early bird or night owl? Super early bird.
8. Motto, mantra, words of advice, or favorite quote: “How embarrassing to be human.” – Kurt Vonnegut
9. Name your favorite ISM. Solipsism, the belief that anything outside of our own mind can not be proven to conclusively exist.
10. If you invented a recreational drug, what would it be called? Poop.
11. What’s the greatest thing the internet has given mankind? Internet Pornography. Also, itâ€™s good to know that Porn has driven the development of most modern technologies. I also expect to see life size holographic internet pornography within the decade.
12. Who owes you something? My bank.
13. How would you run the zoo? I have no idea. But one time, when I was a kid in Africa, an elephant imitated my dad, which was funny at the time. This took place in a zoo.
14. How do you kill time? Video games: making or playing them.
15. Favorite watering hole: The Gowanus Yacht Club in Carroll Gardens.
16. Are you looking for anyone you’ve lost contact with? (maybe we could help.) The me of my youth, except the overweight and lonely parts
17. Do you need anything really bad? Vacation.
18. Any tips for the kids? It’s a lot easier to do than it looks-you just have to have the drive and commitment to really do it.
19. Shout outs:
Name: Alexander Reyna
Gallery: Pablo’s Birthday