Robert Reid, an artist with a rich and colorful heritage from Trinidad and Tobago, brings to life the fluidity and grace of the human form through his art. Utilizing colors rooted in the vibrant culture of his birthplace, Reid's work encapsulates the joy, laughter, and rhythm of his early experiences, translating them into captivating expressions of the human form.
In his studio, Reid creates pieces that draw the viewer into an intimate dialogue with his subjects. His choice to limit background elements in his compositions is a deliberate effort to accentuate the complexity and subtlety of the human figure, a subject that he finds endlessly fascinating and superior to still life or landscapes. As he pushes forward on his artistic path, Reid remains committed to exploring and expanding this intimate, evocative dialogue with his audience, ensuring that each piece is not only seen but also felt and experienced.
Read on to learn more in an exclusive interview with Robert Reid:
Come Away With Me - Charcoal, 18x24in
Where did your journey with art first begin?
My creative journey began in Trinidad and Tobago (my birthplace) where I was introduced to several significant Caribbean artists. They mentored and nurtured my natural, untrained talent. After migrating to New York, I attended a 4-year certificate program at The Art Students League studying under Ted Seth Jacobs, Michael Grimaldi and Peter Cox.
When Summer Comes - Charcoal with Soft Pastel, 25x10in
Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, how did the cultural milieu influence your artistic perspective?
The first things that come to mind are the Carnival experiences and the lush landscapes…from the vibrant colors, the way we walk…. the way we talk… I try to incorporate all that into my work. There’s a certain freedom…a certain joy, laughter, and rhythm. Hopefully, the viewer can recognize these elements.
It Only Happens Once - Charcoal, 18x24in
What initially drew you to focus primarily on the human form in your art?
Great question, I truly believe there is something magnificent about human form. There are no straight lines. With movement and grace, the beauty of the human figure is above all things pleasing to us. Still, life or Landscape painting does not create that kind of interest for me.
One Day I'll Fly Away - Watercolor, 11x8in
Looking back at your artistic journey so far, what piece or series do you feel represents a turning point or a significant evolution in your craft?
I don’t think it was one piece or a series. What comes to mind was my first solo art exhibition in Soho NY. It gave me the belief that I should continue this journey.
How do you think the absence of a distinct background influences the viewer’s interaction with your artwork?
In composing my paintings. Using a limited background, the viewer is forced to focus on the main figure in the painting and hopefully appreciate the subtlety, movement and complexity in which the colors are applied on the figure in my work.
Sentimental Reason - Watercolor 13x13in
In your journey as an artist, how have you seen your understanding or representation of beauty evolve?
Being on this side of the globe, there was a certain standard of beauty that was portrayed by magazines and photographers. The figurative artist has always taken the road less traveled. We bring natural beauty to the viewer so he or she can appreciate it and understand that the human element comes from within, and the artists try to portray that on the canvas.
Robert Reid in his studio
What is the most profound lesson you have learned about yourself through the process of creating art?
If you plan to do figurative work, have a strong foundation in drawing and in creating artwork. Truly listen to your inner voice and don’t be afraid to experiment with the work.
Adjusting Ribbon - Watercolor 8x12in
Are there any artists or people that have been most influential in your creative Development?
At the beginning of my career: Sundiata Stewart. At present, my collectors (it means a lot to have people willing to invest in you).
An Awakening - Oil on Canvas 26x15in
Where do you see yourself evolving as an artist, say 10 years from now?
10 years is a long time from now, we don’t know if we’ll all be here! I truly would like to see my work grow in terms of quality, expand my ideas and reach a far greater audience.
Tell me about your studio space, its importance to you, and what's your favorite thing in that space.
There are a few things that immediately come to mind, my flat files that I can store my work and my variety of easels that I can do both watercolor and oil paintings in the same space.
What is your overall goal as an artist, and what does being an artist mean to You?
I truly have an opportunity to bring to the world the beauty and the strength that lies within me and to be able to put that on paper. Also, to awaken the viewer, whether comfortable or uncomfortable, good artwork is important to our society.
Night of a Stranger - Watercolor 13.5x20.5in
Can you tell me about any shows or projects you have coming up shortly?
I just finished my Prospect Park series. Also planning to have some works in the Harlem Fine Art show 2024.
You can learn more about Robert Reid and his work via these links: