Taking a magnifying glass to the defining elements of identity, artist Michael Reeder works from a curious point of reference: people he's never met. Working in a free-flowing manner with bright solid color palette, he creates eclectic portraits wherein he constructs entirely new individuals.
His initial inspiration came from the practice of repeatedly painting the same portrait. Reeder realized his own ability to construct a distinct persona with each iteration. "My intentions are to create weird portraits focusing on the assemblage nature of our identities," says Reeder. Essentially he's a chemist, blending between cultural touch-points, religious iconography, and contemporary visual stylings. In order to depict such a wide range of elements, Reeder's "collage-esque" look melds various kinds of backdrops within the same flat space, rendering patterns with a graphic sense of realism.
Inspired by Stephen Conroy, with his stark backgrounds and solitary protagonists, Reeder saves the bright solid colors for his emotionless characters' environments. Another big influence for Reeder is the range of color in everyday life. By analyzing the interactions between shadows, lights, and static subjects, he inserts his visions into a complex matrix of anatomical detail and flatness. "When I'm in the studio I am the creator of my own world by utilizing an immense bank of visual references that I've stored mentally," he says. As for the potential development of the series, Reeder plans to work on pushing the assembled style further and placing his works into real spaces in order to further complicate the relationships between his subjects and their worlds.
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