"My art is about my experience, I guess. It’s my own little take on the world. I like colors so I paint colourful things; I like people so I paint people."
Tell the people who you are?
I’m Max Reed, I’m 19, and I’m currently living in Bristol, but later this year I’m off to study graphic design at Brighton Uni. I’ve been told it’s pretty much just Bristol by the sea, though.
What's your earliest art memory?
I think I’ve always been creatively inclined, but my first real memory of art (or at least the one that sticks out to me the most) must have been when I was 5 or 6. I broke my arm, but my parents figured I was fine because I just kept drawing. I lost some of that dedication along the way, really: I don’t reckon I’d be able to keep drawing through the pain like that these days. Big up to little Max for doing that, though. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
WHO inspireD you to be an artist?
My dad! My mum, too, but mainly my dad: he works as an illustrator so I’ve been exposed to that sorta thing right from the start. I was totally transfixed by the marvels of his Wacom tablet when he first let me have a go with it when I was little. Growing up around creative people was definitely exactly the sort of environment I needed to let those creative mind-seeds fester.
Tell us about your art?
My art is about my experience, I guess. It’s my own little take on the world. I like colour so I paint colourful things; I like people so I paint people. It’s weird: a lot of the people I create end up as a sort of amalgamation of the various folk I come across on the daily. Sometimes I’ll draw someone who ends up looking too much like a friend and I feel like I can’t post it because they’ll think I’m weird for drawing them. It’s never intentional, though. A lot of my stuff is digital because I like the fact that you can really push the saturation of the colours you’re working with.
Are there other artists that you look at for inspiration?
James Jean’s stuff is crazy. He’s got everything going on: the colour, the composition, the liveliness of it all. His stuff is a big inspiration for sure. Aryz, too - his colour combinations are stunning. I’m also big on film, so movies by directors like Tarantino and Wes Anderson definitely play a part in inspiring my stuff. If it’s not film and it’s not artists, though, it’s music. The 80s, feel good stuff that makes your mind run wild.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR STYLE?
Last summer I took a step back from all the stuff I’d been making, made myself a weird chunky sorta brush in Photoshop, and did some photo studies using references I found on Pinterest. I think that’s when I really found my footing with my style. In my opinion, though, an artist’s ‘style’ is really just a big collection of everything they’ve done leading up to the point they’re at: it’s everything that has ever inspired them coagulated into a visual format. You look at the world around you and the stuff that people are making and you process that in your brain, like a tiny art oven, and you throw it all onto paper and the timer dings and that’s that. That’s your style.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Leyendecker’s stuff is insane. I’d want to collaborate with him just to see how he did it, really. I’d also love to collaborate with an artsy clothing company - Lazy Oaf has always been a source of inspiration for me, and working in that sort of industry is sure to provide a ton of learning opportunities.
What would you like to accomplish with your art?
I guess I eluded to it just then, but long term I’d love to have my art on clothing. I’d want to design it myself, though, all the way down to the garments themselves. If not that, then I’d settle for just making people feel something. It’s interesting how different people can have an entirely different interpretation of the same piece, and the fact that people feel stuff from looking at my art alone is mad cool.
What was the last thing you saw that inspired you to create?
Some leaves in a tattoo parlour I was at the other day. The shapes were killer. Also, the feed of @magsmunroe on Instagram.
Images by Max Reed
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