Tyson Reeder Captures Modern Adolescence with CELINE HOMME Collaboration

Tyson Reeder Captures Modern Adolescence with CELINE HOMME Collaboration

Tyson Reeder Captures Modern Adolescence with CELINE HOMME Collaboration

In this exclusive V Man interview, the American artist talks his inspirations and influences for Celine's "The Dancing Kid" collection.

In this exclusive V Man interview, the American artist talks his inspirations and influences for Celine's "The Dancing Kid" collection.

Text: Trishna Rikhy

Tyson Reeder encapsulates the sweet, sublime strangeness of the everyday, the oddities of mundanity and the vividness of monotony. Known for his vibrant pastel works, the American artist’s paintings are embedded in color and charisma, restructured from the canvas to the body with CELINE HOMME’s Summer 2021 collection.

With previous exhibitions slated at the Jack Hanley Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, Reeder’s work enters the contemporary landscape emblazoned across windbreakers, shorts, tees, hoodies, and more, reinvented and reinterpreted in Hedi Slimane’s “The Dancing Kid” to personify adolescent skate culture and modern e-boys, fluently painting a candid scene of life anchored in the blissful, buoyant world of Tyson Reeder.

For CELINE HOMME, Reeder’s Autobahn print is plastered across garments in the Summer ’21 collection, a collaboration fusing the brand’s chic, elevated house code with Reeder’s evocative, striking art. Below, we talked with the artist about his process, CELINE HOMME, and the complexity of the cross-sections between fashion and art. Read on for the full interview and shop Tyson Reeder’s collaboration with CELINE HOMME here.

V MAN: What was it like collaborating with CELINE HOMME and Hedi Slimane on “The Dancing Kid”?

TYSON REEDER: The process was fast-moving and, like everything this past year, mostly remote as their team came together on several exciting ideas with the painting in a short amount of time leading up to when “ The Dancing Kid” dropped. I got to see some great in-progress images of the jacket and embroidery ideas but hadn’t seen anything on a body until that epic live video launch.  It all felt kind of disembodied and unreal in a very 2020 way  – me painting in relative isolation in an industrial building in the Midwest interfacing with an atelier in Paris via my gallery in New York, all of it shaped in some way by the tastes of an attention-starved global army of teen TikTok hermits.

VM: Why did the collaboration with your work “Autobahn” make sense now?

TR: Hedi and the team at Celine had a vision of how a couple of recent works of mine shown at my gallery, CANADA in New York and the Independent Art Fair, NY could fit into an ongoing series of artist collaborations. The larger painting, Autobahn, breaks into several clean graphic planes, with repeated forms and patterns that could be translated into fabric and embroidery more readily than some of my busier works, so that seemed the most fun for the designers to work with. They really ran with it, with variations as an all-over print and in one case as an amazing translation of my gestural painted line into LED-lit green and pink neon.

VM: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your art?

TR: The elasticity of drawing anchors my work, I think. The gap between the modest tools of drawing and the otherworldly vistas  I’m trying to describe is a space I like to live in, and it’s a space I recognize in artists I admire.

Pedro Bell’s maximal album covers resonated with me early on for trying to do and say so much in a little square with markers and colored pencils. Each studio day starts with drawing, and the paintings become an aggregate of old and new works on paper, combined with appropriated bits of pattern and color from piles of found sources – thrifted  sweaters through the decades, old magazines, internet-mined print-outs, and my own photography.

VM: What do you want to reflect or evoke through your work, particularly “Autobahn” and “Sunset Van”?

TR: I’ve always been drawn to landscape and specifically stylized representations of landscape superimposed on synthetic surfaces like vans and clothing, a static image moving through physical space. “Autobahn” is going for something kind of pleasantly meaningless, more the endless groove of the Kraftwerk song than the actual highway. “Sunset Van” is an ongoing fixation on nesting a painting-within-a-painting, and the dissonance of the beach scene within the gloomy grey is meant to be kind of sad. Painting as a used car.

VM: Can you speak about the relationship of the German highway, and its interpretation through the final product? For instance, patterns, colors, themes, etc.

TR: The artist Charlene Von Heyl has talked about abstract painting being about “eradicating meaning” and I think even though I’m using imagery I’m after a similar kind of narrative collapse. I tend to think the meaning is something you bat away like a fly in the studio – a self-important distraction. I’m the last person you would ask to speak with authority about the Autobahn, the German highway. I think I liked the dissonance of the title clashing with neon and leopard print palm trees.

VM: What about sentiments? How do these works make you feel? How are they reflected through the art?

TR: I hope they feel beautiful in some alien way. They aren’t full of much bravura brushwork or impulsive angst. My touch is getting lighter and lighter each year and lately, the white of the canvas is playing more of a role like my earlier drawings. I’m excited about a completely vulnerable surface, where the story of the making of the painting isn’t buried under layers of paint. I want them to make you want to paint.

VM: How does the medium of painting transfer to being wearable art?

TR: I think the reason “Autobahn” works is that the imagery is organized rhythmically with the green, pink and yellow alternating and repeating in a bold graphic way that reads even when buried in the folds of a windbreaker. My solo show at CANADA, “Gorp” this past fall featured interior spaces like abandoned malls with repeating escalator motifs that I could see working in a similar way, wrapping around the body.

VM: What was the conception and painting process of “Autobahn” like?

TR: This piece is a good case study of my sometimes Frankenstein hybrid practice: The seascape armature everything hangs on is lifted from a Milton Avery painting. The palm trees are directly from plein-air drawings I did staying with a friend in Silverlake. The chopper motorcycle ghost bikes are resurrected from a painting from my first show at CANADA, and the overall palette is pulled from a pile of fabric remnants from an old Pilsen fabric store in Chicago.

VM: The “Autobahn” print is featured across hoodies, windbreakers, tees, and even shoes. Can you speak to the versatility of the print?

TR: There’s something warm and escapist about the image that translates over different contours and forms. It looks distinctly hand-made but also weirdly mute, like a Hockney painting or a Steely Dan song. The emotional temperature is low.

VM: “The Dancing Kid” captures the portrait of the modern adolescent—how does your art capture and reflect the spirit of Celine across the collection?

TR: The fashion of today’s youth seems to be mirroring the cerebral introversion of the paintings of my recent students a bit. Now that the entirety of art history is available on your phone, a lot of work is taking the form of a kind of pastiche or knowing mash-up of styles. My own touchstones for this approach are pre-internet – Picabia’s transparency paintings and commitment to shape-shifting throughout his career, Polke’s druggy arbitrary layering, Laura Owens clash of craft and art canonical quotations. Maybe there’s a kind of willful confusion in the work that is suddenly fitting these times.

VM: If you had to choose another of your paintings to be conveyed into fashion garments, which would you choose and why?

TR: I made a large vertical diptych piece called “Sears” for my last show at CANADA, maybe the most austere and emptied out thing I’ve made. It has a red escalator winding through three mosaic-tiled floors of an abandoned department store covered with plants and vines, a little dystopian. The flow of the stark red against the white ground might work similar to “Autobahn,” I could see it running down the length of a sleeve.

VM: Your work has been featured in galleries and exhibitions across the country, where people would pay to see your art on the wall, stagnant. How does that compare to having your art on clothes, being worn like a second skin, and constantly moving through the world?

TR: The idea that something I made could have a second life on some skaters body in Paris, even for a fleeting moment, is a dream come true, and reaffirms my belief in painting’s resilience as the dinosaur medium that keeps being CPR’d back to life.

VM: What can we expect next from you, either in the world of fashion or the world of painting?

TR: Next up for me is a show of new paintings at Gana Art in Seoul this summer, curated by the great Matt Black. I’ve also recently opened a gallery in a 10-gallon fish tank in my studio, featuring live fish and changing underwater exhibitions every two weeks. A perfect way to view art during the pandemic! See more @bubblezgallery on IG.

Credits: Images courtesy of Celine

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