Devon Reina

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I grew up in Stony Brook, Long Island and now live in Brooklyn, NY.
Did you go to art school or have a mentor?
I learned a lot growing up with my father being a full time artist. From a young age, he helped teach me how to observe and critique artwork. On top of that, I studied Product Design at Parsons where I learned a lot about materials, concept, and my own process.
Did your upbringing influence the direction of your artistic process?
Growing up with my father being a full time artist granted me a lot of unique lessons. One of which is how to read a painting or work of art. Many of our evenings at home were spent talking about his latest work that he’d brought home and what it brought to mind or the meaning behind it. I realize now that this seemingly casual chat as a child was really a class in art criticism and the many ways one work of art can be read. And now, with us both being artists, we often share and discuss our work with each other! :)

When did you begin your current practice?
I began my current practice after graduating from Parsons with a Design Degree. All throughout my thesis work, I kept thinking about how I wanted to apply what I learned to a canvas. And even before then, I would always find one way or another to bend my design briefs into more conceptual projects.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
Depending on the type of piece I’m making, the most difficult part of the process can either be the very beginning or the very end - everything in between is generally outside of me. But knowing where to start and when to finish can be a great challenge.
I’m really interested in what happens when I remove myself from parts of the process and give materials more power in guiding and directing a piece. — Devon Reina
Are there any aspects of your process that are left to chance?
There certainly are. I’m really interested in what happens when I remove myself from parts of the process and give materials more power in guiding and directing a piece.
Do you admire or draw inspiration from any of your peers who are also working now?
I draw a lot of inspiration from a dear friend of mine, Joshua Skirtich who is a NYC-based designer. Our conversations meander between art and design, always leaving me with dozens of ideas to pursue and even more I have to store away for years to come. Although we haven’t collaborated yet, I sure hope to someday in the future. He’s a designer with a very artistic mind - his most recent work being a large series of figurative NFT sculptures with a strong thesis behind the work. And though my work doesn’t speak so much to the NFT space at the moment, it’s really inspiring to see how he’s applying his design knowledge to the world.
Is there any artwork on display in your home/studio?
My partner and I have a collection of about 25 vintage scientific posters ranging from the 40’s to 80’s that I like to cycle through and hang throughout the home. I just love seeing such informative graphics that make use of beautifully hand-painted details.

What’s one of your favorite objects you own? What’s the story?
I have this Alessi “Hot Bertaa” tea kettle designed by Philippe Starck that is famous for being a terrible kettle. I absolutely love it because it’s a dysfunctional design object, but a spectacular sculpture. Even Alessi has said, “It’s our most beautiful fiasco.”
Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Before studying art and design, I fenced on the Division 1 team at Ohio State University.
What’s next for you?
In the near future, I have plans to build some objects that sit between sculpture and design.

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