Roque Reyes has only been painting full-time for a year and a half and yet his work is already catching the attention of locals and foreigners alike. The 31-year-old studied art at UABJO, Oaxaca’s Benito Juárez Autonomous University, and went on to work outside of the art world for seven years before returning to his passion in 2017. Those seven years saw Reyes working in communications for NGOs in Nayarit and Oaxaca, as well as teaching art in Guadalajara. These experiences helped him to crystalise his passion and continue to be sources of inspiration for his art.
As a child, Reyes preferred drawing to playing football with his friends. This long-standing love for art is apparent in the way he discusses his process. Arriving at his workshop, he will often take some time to meditate on his work and intentions for the day before putting on his headphones and dissolving into his art. “Sometimes the music will stop and I won’t even realize. I get lost in my work.”
Growing up, Reyes was inspired by artists like El Greco and Amedeo Modigliani, artists who were producing work that was vastly different from their contemporaries. This could help to explain why Reyes’ own work often departs from a traditional Oaxacan style.
Currently working with ‘action painting’, Reyes loves this experimental live form of painting using acrylics. The wet paint is guided and directed around the canvas in a race against the clock before it dries. The paint can be guided by moving the canvas, using different tools or even by blowing on it. Reyes is taking the technique further, working on action painting portraits. He enjoys this technique because it is fun and fast, and a wholly different experience to his other love, oil painting. An oil painting requires weeks of working on the same painting, whereas an action painting is done in six hours. The fast pace doesn’t make it easy, however. “Once the paint is on the canvas there is no way to remove it,” Reyes told Qué Pasa Oaxaca, and looking at the paintings it is hard to believe that such detail can be produced using this fast-paced technique.
For Reyes, being able to create art is a great privilege that comes with a level of responsibility. When asked about his inspirations outside of the art world, he explained that no one person inspires him, but rather that he draws his inspiration from many of the people he meets, the places he goes, serendipitous happenings and the quiet and subtle moments of everyday life.
“Art is a medium through which one can transmit ideas, emotions and personal or individual reflections,” Reyes told us when discussing art’s impact on society beyond the aesthetic. “I think it’s more about the process than arriving at a set destination. The artistic process can take us on a fascinating adventure with the potential to connect people and communities, or at least that has been my experience.”
As for the future, Reyes hopes to keep defining his style while working within the medium of action painting, oil painting, drawing and xilografia (woodcut prints). He strongly believes that drawing is fundamental to being a great artist and it is a skill that he practices regularly and which challenges him creatively.
Reyes has a number of upcoming projects and exhibitions so it is likely that you will be seeing his work around the city in the coming year. He also welcomes readers to make an appointment to visit his studio and see his work for themselves.
Roque Reyes can be contacted through his website www.roquereyes.com