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FREAK OUT!! Reuben Negron

Reuben Negron is a contemporary artist best known for his highly detailed, figurative watercolor paintings. Negron's work explores the psychology of his subjects, focusing on identity, sexuality and personal narrative.

Negron is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA) and the School of Visual Arts (MFA). His watercolors have been exhibited internationally, with notable exhibitions most recently in New York, San Francisco, and Miami. Negron’s work has been featured by Vogue, Juxtapoz, Time Out New York, PoetsArtists, Manifesto, Devora Ran, and Playboy, among others.

Do you remember the 1970’s and if so what are three highlights of that time frame for you?
I was born in 1979 so I never experienced it directly - but I was raised on an eclectic mix of seventies music. Stevie Wonder, the Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire, Barry White and Curtis Mayfield were played just as frequently as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Queen and The Allman Brothers. Thats was the soundtrack of my childhood.

Tell us about the artwork you are submitting for the exhibition.
My three watercolors are inspired by the undulating, trance-inducing electronic rhythm of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” I’ve always been drawn to that song’s slow and steady melodic build. It seems to draw out this latent energy that radiates in all directions and swirls around the dance floor. It’s repetitive mantra is hypnotic to the point of meditation. Summer’s voice is that of a siren, calling you to open your arms and accept just as much love as you give. In trying to capture that I knew I’d have to let go and allow the medium dictate what the art became. And so here we have three maiden of the dance; three sirens a blaze with their own energy, naked and calling you to join them in the maelstrom.

Do you use photography as a reference for your artwork?
Yes, I used old photos of models I’d previously worked with in the past. These are images I hadn't seen in several years.

Do you listen to music while you work?
All the time. I paint to the tempo of the music I’m listening to at the moment. When I need to take my time work my way through a complicated portion of a painting I’ll listen to thoughtful, complex and downtempo beats. When I’m in a time crunch and I need to speed things up or inject a bit of energy into a painting I opt for harder, pounding, uptempo music.

How do you see the current state of the art market in response to your body of work?
My normal body of work centers around personal narratives that tackle what some may
consider to be difficult topics (sexuality, mental and physical health, identity). That being said, I’ve been very fortunate to make a living off what I do. The collectors I’ve gained over the years tend to be invested beyond the face value of the work. These there pieces, however, are a sizable departure from what I’m known for so It will be interesting to see how they are received by “the market.”

Have you experience a eureka moment while working on the artwork for Freak Out?
The entire process of working on my contributions to Freak OUT! was an exercise in
relinquishing control and feeling more than thinking. I had several revelations about the practical application of the medium as well as some insight into how my work will evolve moving forward. All in all letting go allowed me to explore avenues I hadn’t previously had the opportunity to try. It was a learning experience from beginning to end.

What collections would you like your work to end up in?
I don’t have my sights on any particular institutional collections. I just want my work to find homes with people who appreciate the statements I’m making and can help further the dialog. It’s not about being popular, it’s about having an impact.