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Art & Life with Monica Reede

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Reede.

Monica, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Making art has always been a part of my life.  It was not so much a choice as it was a joyful engagement in the activity of making things.  I grew up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota, far away from any of the large art centers, but my mother was an artist and she was my first art teacher. As a child, I spent much of my time drawing and absorbing the work of great artists through the books that we had around the house. When asked, I always told people that I wanted to be an artist.

As I grew older, I was discouraged from the following art as a career path due to the lack of financial security.  So, when I entered college, I was working toward a degree in science.  At some point during my junior year, I decided that I did not want to go through life never having even tried to live my dream and I switched my major to fine art, graduating with a BFA.  Those who warned me were right, there is little financial security in the life of an artist, but I have not regretted my decision.

Over the course of my 20+ year career, I have had the good fortune to have been represented by a number of galleries throughout the Midwest. My work has also been recognized through grants and awards and is represented in numerous corporate and private collections including Boston Scientific, Princeton University, Sprint Corporation and the Mayo Clinic.

About 5 years ago, following a series of events including several deaths of friends and family and a health crisis of my own, my husband and I decided to make a fresh start and relocate to Southern California. While I am still trying to find my footing as a California artist, I am continually inspired by the quality of light and the natural beauty we have found here (not to mention the escape from a lifetime of long cold winters).

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I have always been interested in perception, how we perceive and categorize things and experiences and how we create a hierarchy of those things and experiences in order to shape the narrative of our lives. I am also captivated by the anatomy of perception itself—the effect of light on the receptors of our eyes and how that can contribute to the emotional impact of an experience.

Much of my work has been an exploration of these ideas through the use of light, shadow and reflection as well as the layering of materials and the juxtaposition of imagery. While the core of my training was in painting and drawing, the materials I use vary from project to project depending on the results that I hope to achieve. Over the years I have used both 2D and 3D elements including chalkboard, beeswax, Plexiglas, marbles, aluminum flashing, found objects, collage and printmaking techniques. Most recently, I have begun to experiment with alternative processes in photography and print-based media.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
So many conditions have changed for artists since I began my career. On the one hand, we have social media and other online platforms that allow us to connect to friends, fans, collectors, dealers and institutions within and beyond our region or country like never before. This gives artists more control over how and where they gain exposure for their work and offers alternate ways to earn an income beyond the gallery system. However, nothing can replace the experience of seeing art in person and engaging with works on a physical scale.

Galleries and museums are struggling to find new ways to entice viewers to visit their spaces and that has an impact on the artists that they choose to show. There is also a very real crisis in the lack of affordable workspaces, especially in places like southern California. I believe that what artists really need is Community—to connect with other artists, to engage in dialogue, collaboration, inspiration and to support each other. Artists by their very nature are creative problem solvers and will always find a way to continue to do what they feel called to do.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People can see my work and receive updates on events and exhibitions through my website and they can follow me on Instagram.

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


1 Comment

  1. Julie Grist

    July 17, 2018 at 1:38 am

    Great interview. Love her work.

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