Reginald Sylvester II’s Unconscious Place
Could you describe the scene of your ideal work environment?
An environment that’s spacious with minimal sensibility. Great day light, jazz playing, incense, reading material, and at some points a bit of silence.
When you’re working on a piece and it's coming from emotion, can there be “mistakes?”
There are always mistakes. Mistakes are critical - they transform through the process into moments of beauty.
In talking about a previous show (Reaching For Heaven), you mentioned wanting to create more sourcing from an unconscious place, and now you’re showing pieces after achieving that. What are you looking to explore next?
I feel that the unconscious or subconscious is a place of great depth. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface when tapping into that place. I feel that creating within that space is a life long journey. Creating through the use of different materials using processes unfamiliar to myself is next. The idea of tapping into that subconscious/unconscious while doing this interests me a lot.
Jean-Michel Basquiat commented on being labeled a “black artist” vs an “artist” and you once said that you wanted your work to not only reflect yourself, but something bigger. How do you weigh that distinction with the mutual exclusivity between race and occupation that can often exist with politically charged works?
Before art, there is a totally different dynamic and experience of being “black” or being a “person of color” in this world. In art I feel there’s no running away from this labeling or acting as if it doesn’t exist, which I feel some people try and do. Whether the works are political or not, that distinction will be made.
We’re exposed to so much media on a daily basis, how do you separate inspiration from imitation in your work— does that entail creating from the unconscious?
In my work I never aim to imitate. Living my life and going through my own trials and tribulations creates all the inspiration I need. I use media to be aware. To live life and not be aware I feel is a bit ignorant. Creating from the unconscious/subconscious in my opinion is the purest because you're pulling from a place that is internal. It has nothing to do with the external.
From what I’ve seen, you’re a pretty stylish guy. Was there an initial love for fashion that led to the interest in painting?
Thank you! I definitely have a love and admiration for fashion. It’s never had a impact on my work or on how I chose to paint. I do enjoy the rare moments when the two worlds can come together in harmony.
To what extent is brand important to your artistry?
I don’t feel as an artist "brand" is something that should be focused on. I feel what’s most important is the art- creating at the highest level. Never compromising for anything and not being afraid of change and taking risk. One thing I do feel is that ones artistry as well as ones brand should have is integrity.