Monday, October 20, 2008

Interview with Fly Lady Di

Hidden Street Art has the pleasure of interviewing Diana Reyes aka Fly Lady Di. Fly Lady Di is a Toronto transplant and a fixture on the New York Scene and is gaining prominence in the world of Live Art.

What attracted me to your art was the similarity of some your images to graffiti. I know that you consider your work in the realm of cubism and graffiti. How would you describe your aesthetic?

I would describe my aesthetic as sort of a soulful cubism; flat figures and fragmented forms divided by distinct contouring black lines and bold colours. Ultimately, I think people see my artwork differently than I do. I never really painted anything with the intention of looking 'urban', but people always seem to paint me with that brush. Also, I feel like my aesthetic is evolving because I've lately been trying to adapt new styles and techniques into my own.

Growing up, your father was an artist. Who or what else had an influence on your art?

As soon as my father learned that I wanted to be an artist, he took me to the library where he showed me books of all the greats; Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, etc. They were children's books showing how these artists evolved from their childhood. It was pretty fascinating. My father shared the same enthusiasm I had for learning about the masters, and for that, I feel the masters have had a tremendous influence on my style and eye for aesthetics. Also in my teens, I would buy every graffiti magazine I could find and study the masters like Lady Pink, Futura, and a host of others which in turn greatly influenced my style.

You have a background as a dancer and are also a live painter, how do those two disciplines influence your art?

Being a freestyle dancer, I learned there are several principals of dancing that you could also apply to painting. Spatiality, fragmentation, rhythm and flow can all be used methodically to create something beautiful and timeless. The music can be used to move through you when dancing and also when painting. That's why I enjoy painting live so much, because it's a way of capturing a moment with colour on canvas - creating something tangible of your thoughts, emotions and the energy around you. With dance, all you have is that moment, that's why painting live is so great - you can take the moment with you and look at it from time to time.

What are the main mediums you work in?

Acrylic on canvas has always been the medium I'm most comfortable and confident using.

The female form appears frequently in your work. What does female imagery and color represent in your work?

Female imagery is always a reflection of my being. Also, sexuality and beauty are things that influence me as well. It represents inner strength, stability, growth and love. I can't really explain colour. Colour something that sort of happens on its own - though all colours have meaning. The cold colours (blues, greens, purples, etc.) represent a calmness and depth. The warm colours (reds, pinks, yellows, etc.) represent intensity, love and passion.

What inspires you to paint and how do you stay motivated?

A lot of times when I am emotionally distraught, I like to paint my feelings out. I'm not a person who likes to talk much, so my thoughts and emotions become expressed through my art. Also, there are times when I get a vision to paint something and I can't rest until I see that vision on a canvas. Other artists, like my partner Ibrahim Yaqut, inspire me to become a better painter and develop a new style, and new way of seeing things. But sometimes it's really difficult to stay motivated. Even now, I feel as though the past 8 months or so were replete with having to express myself on demand, and since it was so intense, I find it hard to paint independently right now.

How has your art evolved over the last five years?

Five years ago, I wasn't painting or drawing at all. I was more focussed on dancing and becoming a successful dancer. I never thought I would pursue a career in fine arts because as much as my father taught me, he always discouraged me from being an artist. I started drawing and painting three years ago after meeting a fellow dancer who was also an amazing artist. I started from scratch, remembering all techniques and I even bought a mannequin to practice sketching and build proportion. I felt like a baby all over again. I was just so hungry for it that I kept at it and didn't stop until I proved it to myself that I could create something that even I liked and admired. I feel like now, I can create anything that is asked of me, and I'm proud of that because before, I was timid and reserved about what I could produce artistically.

What do you think of the current New York art scene?

The art scene in New York is great - but I see it becoming a little stagnant. There are some amazing live painters out here, and the live art scene is becoming increasingly popular and integral when it comes to events. It is definitely growing and I feel like people are paying attention to visual art more than they were 2 years ago. I think it has to do with the people producing the artwork having marketable personalities like rappers or dancers. But I feel like the artists have to push harder to get to that next level, maybe develop businesses or ideas that larger companies can invest in - in order to be taken more seriously. Otherwise, the artists will just be doing the same thing over and over again and produce no greater results.

What's the Fly Lady Di soundtrack to the streets?

I'm obsessed with J*DaVeY and I listen to her all the time. I love her writing style and the beats of Brook D'Leau. I love hip hop and r&b of the early 90s. Radiohead is always good. D' Angelo, Erykah Badu, and neo-soul in general is a staple for my iPod. I like anything soulful and funky.

1 comment:

FLY LADY DI said...

thank you so much, Khari. excellent blog going on here!... lovely. I am posting yours to mine: