Leon Reid IV


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Leon Reid IV and I am an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. I define my artistic style as simple and humorous. My new body of work TECH-ART: Soul For Technology™ is a departure from over 20 years of graffiti and street art installation.

What is your favorite medium?

I am a trained welder, and there is nothing like suiting up in mask and gloves, welding steel and watching the sparks fly. However for my new body of work TECH-ART: Soul For Technology™ I used traditional media such as oil paint, collage, pencil on paper and even new media such as 3D printing.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

In my youth, I drew inspiration from the urban environment. Yet in my new body of work TECH-ART: Soul For Technology™ , I’ve been inspired by technology’s symbols and system of visual communication. I am trying to make these symbols just as expressive as my graffiti and street art.

What is your creative process?

My creative process starts with looking. I observe the world around me. These observations then form creative ideas, the creative ideas -if worthy- become drawings, the drawings -if feasible- become larger works of art like sculptures or paintings.

Is there a specific theme/message/emotion you aim to evoke?

I’ve focused on a wide variety of themes in over 30 years of art production. Naturally as you age, your interests change over time. As a kid, my work focused on comic books, as a teenager it was graffiti lettering, as a young adult it was proving that street-art was legitimate “Art” . Now, with TECH-ART: Soul For Technology™ I aim to interpret the visual language of our devices and make it expressive of human emotion.

What motivates you to continue to create?

I continue to make art because I still get a euphoric feeling from the creative process. I also have a deep sense of responsibility to create and feel that anyone with any ability whatsoever should use it in the most productive way possible.

When you encounter creative blocks, what do you do to overcome them?

I don’t encounter creative blocks; it’s quite the opposite, I have a backlog of ideas waiting to be made.

What are your thoughts on the future of art?

I think the future of art will be interconnected with the development of our technology (it already is) TECH-ART: Soul For Technology™ tries to capture this development. I feel the traditional art media of painting, drawing, sculpture will have to expand to accommodate new media (it already has) For example, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has photography, film and video games in its permanent collection.

What is something you have had to learn on your own that you would like to pass on to the next Creative?

I believe in empowering the artist in business. In order to achieve a long, sustainable -even profitable- career in art, we as artists need to recognize the value of our work and take advantage of it.

So many artists fall prey to predatory agents (galleries, agencies, non-profits etc.) because we creatives tend to wear our emotions on our sleeve. Unfortunately the most passionate people are the easiest to take advantage of.

In practical terms, artists should have a basic understanding of business practices. This means preparing our own consignment agreements and declining galleries that don’t offer one. Knowing intellectual property law such as copyright and trademark and knowing when to assert your rights.

If we artists understand business better and properly implement it, we stand a better chance of benefiting from our own work, so that we can successfully create more without being crippled by debt or poverty.