Craig Reynolds is an artist that lives and works out of Brooklyn, New York.
Are your “Compositions” sacred? Are they monuments?
When I first started making this work I think I may have been thinking more along those lines but I’ve tended to drift away from thinking like that in a straight forward way. When things appear holy or sacred in my photographs I’m usually doing it in a pretty intentionally ironic way. I like to subtly poke fun at things and I’ve found that creating these monumental or holy looking compositions tends to create a good stage to do that within.
How does time factor into the work? How volatile or permanent are the “Compositions”?
Time doesn’t really factor in at all in my mind. I guess the images tend to create a very specific moment frozen in time but I don’t really want to over think it. In terms of the physical object, I’m usually just trying to hustle to get it done with the resources available to me. Sometime I just leave the sets in the space where I make them and sometimes I take them down. I’m really interested in creating more physically permanent sets.
How would you respond to someone saying that your photographs are like childhood fever dreams?
That’s cool. It’s weird when you say that because I can remember so specifically the way that feels. I work very much from the gut. Very intuitively as cheesy as that sounds. When you work like that effectively things start to pop out of your subconscious kind of like what would happen during a fever state. As I’m writing this I’m starting to think about a childhood fever dream as nefarious forced mediation. I hope the work doesn’t look to evil.
The word Childhood is very important to me. I always want to look at making photographs in the same way that I looked at building forts in the woods when I was kid. It’s really important to keep a kind of refined childlike view on what your doing. Too many people take themselves too damn seriously and everything just starts to look boring, homogenized and over thought. This art stuff should be fun.
Can you talk about pre-visualization?
An Idea can come from absolutely anywhere and I’ve gotten good at noticing them when they pop up. Something as simple as a piece of trash on the side of the road can grow into a really great idea if you give it the attention and food it needs to grow. It goes back to the childhood thing . It’s super important to accept everything as having the ability to be beautiful or inspiring. Once I have that first idea nugget I spend a good deal of time refining it. Some ideas are easier than others… they just make sense. But then theres some, like this shoot i just finished which have taken me 3 years to get right. I keep a sketchbook… I also do a lot of google image searching. I have a pretty massive data base of random images that I look at a lot to mix and match elements when I’m refining an idea. In the end I usually know exactly what I want when I go into a shoot. I of course give it a little room to flex around as I’m working on it… but for the most part I’m pretty good about knowing exactly what i want when it comes down to it.
The Compositions look like sets created for characters that are not present. Is this true? If so, can you talk about these characters and their presence?
I don’t really think about characters. In fact I think I tend to think around characters if that makes any sense. I guess I’m the character. A character would imply a narrative and I don’t want there to be a direct narrative. I might think about a narrative… or a few narratives while I’m working on the idea but it’s just a device I use to get things worked out in my head.
If you could describe your work in one word, what would it be?
Ask yourself a question and respond.
Do aliens exist and did they build the pyramids?
Yes, at least I hope so because that would be a hell of a lot more interesting than the alternative.