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Painter, Photographer, Writer
ABOUT: “My painting is very intuitive, it’s based on emotion. It depends on the moment,” young painter, photographer, and writer Andi Reyes (declares. Reyes’ abstract work is reminiscent of that of young Pollock, featuring bold explorations of color and mixed mediums that create expressive textures. However, Reyes’ art is not only a means of personal expression; her academic interests lie in sociology and art history, and as a photographer, she strives to highlight the intersection points of these disciplines. “The two are very complementary,” she explains. Reyes is currently working on a project to document other artists’ public pieces in El Barrio, where she spent most of her upbringing. Another project explores the way in which art can be used as a vehicle for social activism; Reyes is doing portraits of individuals who have struggled with various psychological distresses. “I’m trying to dispel the myth of mental illness,” she says.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: Reyes would like to see the neighborhood’s arts resources and programs made more visible to its community members, particularly the youth. “Not many of my friends are engaged in art,” Reyes comments. “There doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to explore things that are different, [but] kids would take those opportunities.” Reyes looks forward to taking advantage of the arts classes that will be offered to the general public by the new branch of Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) in El Barrio. She is optimistic about the development of the arts community in East Harlem. “I definitely want to stay in the area,” she says. “There is a deep pride in the neighborhood... I love listening to other writers read their work about the neighborhood.”
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