You may know Leon Reid IV through his street art or public art and now he has a new body of work conceived and developed in his Greenpoint studio over the last five years. Recently, I caught up with Leon at his studio to talk art, technology, and what it means to combine the two.
Andy Smith: How long have you been keeping a studio in Greenpoint? What’s your favorite thing about Greenpoint?
You began working on Tech-Art: Soul for Technology
TECH-ART: Soul for Technology
In 2014, I recognized an opening to exploit the little symbols provided by our devices to move around cyberspace, (loading wheel, power symbol, battery full etc). Since halting my illegal street art activity in 2005, I had been looking for a new visual language to be inspired by.
My observation was that these tiny tech symbols direct us around the digital environment in the same way that street signs (my former muse) direct us around the urban environment. Because tech-imagery is so so wide-spread, I decided to make the work in isolation for two reasons:
One, so that no other artist could get a scent of the direction I was taking and take a similar approach before me.
Two, so that I could develop the work fully, (experiment, make mistakes) without pressure or expectations from other people.
For two years I kept this body hidden from my peers. The work was unveiled as a solo-show at 17 Frost Gallery in March of 2016.
Coming from a prolific street art career, how does this new work signify a change in your approach or process?
Tech-Art: Soul for Technology
You’ve started signing your work with your fingerprint… do you think artwork authenticity is somehow endangered? What was the catalyst for that?
Why? Because 3D printing is a process designed for mass replication. A work of art’s value is based on authenticity and rarity. The fingerprint is means to protect against any possible unauthorized access and reproduction of my print files. In such case, an illegitimate work couldn’t be authentic without my fingerprint.