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CSA Artist Spotlight: Pati Reis

Introducing the Artspace CSA, a new way to buy local and support artists. Eight Artspace member artists were selected to participate in our first CSA. Each will produce a series of 50 works of art; the resulting 50 shares of the CSA contain one work of art from each artist. Find out more about each of the participating CSA artists in this series.

ReisHow long have you been an Artspace member? I’ve been at Artspace for a year and a half. For an entire year, I was an Artist in residence, and that was amazing. That’s what made me quit my full-time job as a graphic designer to become an artist. The Artist in residence gave me a jump start on my business. It made me realize that I could do this and that people are interested in what I’m doing. It opened my work to new people and possibilities. I got really excited and I said “I’m going to try.”

How and when did you become an artist? I still don’t know if I’m an artist or not. It’s really hard for me to label myself. I come from a design background. I majored in Industrial Design and I have a Master’s degree in Art History. I always wanted to go towards the academic side—I wanted to get my doctorate in Philosophy of Art in Aesthetics. I wanted to work in a museum—until I did. There’s a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy and nothing creative. I worked for twelve years as a graphic designer and when I went to the museum, that’s when I realized I wanted to make things. I wanted to use my hands. That’s when I became an artist/designer.

Tell us a little bit about your process: The process started by me collecting newspapers from all my travels without really knowing why. I believe in the memory of them—that they are carrying good information from my traveling. After years of collecting them, I knew I wanted to do something with them—to recycle them in a different way. I also wanted to keep the newspaper recyclable after I used it by not adding any synthetic or unnatural materials to it. In the beginning when I came up with this, it was impossible! What I finally came up with is to use 100% cotton for the interface and the thread. After I have embroidered the newspaper, the paper that I stitch it to is also recycled. I create the typography in Illustrator and I stitch the design from the back so that the color you see is actually the bobbin. I like the messiness and the texture when I stitch in reverse.

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What can shareholders expect from your contribution to the CSA? The shares are going to be limited edition—the quote that I select will never be used again. Each one will be unique because the languages of the newspapers behind them will be randomly selected.

What does being a part of the CSA mean to you? It’s an opportunity for my work to be part of something bigger. I think being connected with all the different artists makes me feel special—like I belong to this bigger group and we’re doing something good. One of my biggest goals is to do affordable art. I believe that everybody needs to have a unique piece in your home. When someone buys, they know they are helping someone. I think it’s important for everybody to be able to buy something, and that’s why I keep my work small. With the CSA, it gives the opportunity for more people to have work in their home. When you buy art from me, you know you are helping me with my dream.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? I really want to see if the idea of a limited edition works. I’ve been thinking about the idea—possibly as a collaboration with other artists—and I want to see how it feels.

Tell us something about yourself that people may be surprised to know: I’m shy. It’s uncomfortable for me—people do not believe me when I say it, but I’m so shy about being shy that I pretend I’m not shy. It’s uncomfortable for me to talk about myself and to expose my feelings. I like to talk about my work and my process, but not how I feel about it.

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About Mary Kay Kennedy

Development & Communications Manager

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