Trent Reynolds

I am an artist and teacher living in Los Angeles. Since 2007 I have been teaching at Santa Monica College and SMC Emeritus College. I teach drawing, painting, mixed media, and design fundamentals. 

My personal art practice continues to evolve as life circumstances change. My primary interest continues to be collaboration. In many ways this is how I view teaching. Teaching and learning creativity is a collaborative process and I find great satisfaction working with and learning from students. 

I am currently working on two collaborative projects. Both are series of portraits of two different social groups I belong to. The portraits begin with a conversation with a person in a space they consider their own. Following the conversation I take photographs and then make artwork based on our conversation. I enjoy the simplicity of this exchange and the effect it has on individuals and the group as a whole. The portraits will ultimately be displayed in the context where the group normally congregates. More information to come soon.

The following are however two series of paintings I consider milestones in my personal development. They are perhaps more biographical illustration than art so I include them here on the about page.  

The paintings I don't want to make

Toward the end of my second year as a grad student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I hit a low point. I had spent the previous year not happy with anything I had made and not feeling confident I knew what I wanted to do. 

I was talking with a friend in my studio one day and I told him my greatest frustration was that I didn't know what I wanted to paint but I knew exactly what I did not want to paint. Thankfully he was there to suggest the way forward might be to make the paintings I didn't want to make.

I made a list of all the paintings I didn't want to make. They were mostly cliché subjects like sunsets and waterfalls. Some of the things on the list were subjects I might enjoy painting but I felt weren't my stories to tell. Once I had a long list I came up with compositions that combined as many of the things on the list as I felt I could. 

When I was done I ended up liking the paintings quite a bit and the process brought much needed insight that helped me see the way forward. 

Time and Family

This series of paintings is from my BFA thesis exhibition. They are a combination of photography and painting using a process I developed with some grant money. 

I would apply a photosensitive liquid to a large canvas, let it dry in the darkroom, and then expose the surface using a 33mm negative and enlarger. The enlarger was tipped on its side so I could get the canvas far enough away to make the projection as large as the canvas.

After the surface had been exposed I applied photo development chemicals with sponges to develop the photograph. I then worked into the photograph with encaustic (wax) and paint. This series felt like my first departure from what I was being taught as an art student. I discovered the thrill of finding my own path.