Diana; Portrait Of An Artist

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[Artist Of The Day]



Where She’s From: Diana Reyes, 26, was born in North York, a Toronto suburb.

She grew up in Markham, a very middle-class and culturally diverse place. ‘Both my parents were immigrants from the Philippines and I was born a first-generation Canadian,” the lovely artist tells The Black Star. “The most important things I learned from them was to always do my very best, and to apply myself in any situation.”

The parents were supportive and never pressured Diana or her sister.

Diana studied at McGill University in Montreal, one of the most competitive schools in the world. She found herself with the best minds in the world but nobody around her was an artist. “This forced me to want to pursue nothing but the arts and entertainment the summer after I left, and it was that summer in 2002 that I started booking steady work as a professional dancer,” she says. “I never returned to McGill after my first year.”

Where She‘s At:
“I would definitely describe myself as an emerging artist. I have been getting a lot of press clippings, but still have not been reviewed by a major publication or have been 'juried' by a notable
panel,” Reyes adds. “I find this stage in my career to be very exciting and fun but also a little intimidating because this is something that I have been preparing for all my life, but everyday I still ask myself if I am ready for what is coming.”

Her Art Style: “I would describe my work as a cross between Cubism and Graffiti,” she adds. “I belong to a group of artists unofficially named the Brooklyn Renaissance. We are known for using bright colors, bold lines and we also fuse different techniques to create a fresh new style for the eye to see. My style is different from others because my subject matter usually deals with the empowerment of myself - or women in general. My work is often given likeness to the effect of stained-glass windows because of its fragmentation.”

“The sky is the limit for Fly Lady Di,” Reyes says, using her artistic name. “I truly believe there are no limits to my potential because there are so many things that I am good at, and that I enjoy doing. I love being challenged, so I think that as long as I am greatly challenged by a goal or a dream, I will never stop soaring.”

Reyes is entrepreneurial; selling merchandise of her artwork as well as fashion. She also plans on a restaurant and possibly hotels where art meets luxury at a reasonable price.

“I also wish to make films; star in them as well as write and direct them. There aren't many people who look like me in Hollywood, so if I am going to become a movie star, I will probably have to write my own scri pts.”

“Then after I have completed all of my desired goals, I want to teach Art Direction in a major college,” the young artist says.

“Making money while producing art has been a great challenge for me as of late,” she says. “I understand that sometimes artists must live a 'double-life' while trying to pursue their artistic dreams. I have accepted this; yet I still intend to do something conducive to my ultimate dreams of being an Art Director for a media or entertainment

“Right now I am proud to say that I've gotten press in the Village Voice, Trace Magazine and Complex Magazine with still more to come,” she adds. Her live artwork in such events as the NY "ArtBattles", "Donuts are Forever 2" (J-Dilla Tribute), and "Hip Rock Reggae," for Complex Magazine, “are all quite worthy of mention because they are still
talked about to this day and have given me much attention on the world stage thus far,” Reyes says.

Reyes has a big Gallery Opening on Wednesday May 7th at Gallery Bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The event is called "Fresh Produce" and it was put together by By Any Means (BAM) Events and Reyes.

“The producers at BAM Events also work at Island Def Jam, so they are keen of knowing how to put together a hot show,” she says. “The event will feature my new artwork that Gallery Bar will be hosting for one month. I will also be doing a live painting while DJ Melo-X provides music, and bands like Igmar Thomas and the Cypher, J.Cole and Honey Larochelle perform. These are all amazing musical acts and I hope that New York takes heed of this event because it will be legendary.”

Reyes’ Words Of Wisdom: "Every step takes you to where you want to go. But no matter how far you get, don't ever forget where you came from."
Reyes’ Secrets Of Success: “Hard work always pays off. Also, having a strong vision of what you want is key. Persistence and Patience are also virtuous qualities to have while pursuing your dreams. Discipline is also necessary -- you have to formulate good working habits to get the ball rolling and to ensure to you don't deviate from your desired path.”
Reyes’ Four Favorite Movies: “Baadasssss, by Mario Van Peebles, Basquiat, directed by Julian Schnabel, Frida directed by Julie Tamor, and Dirty Dancing because I'm a dancer too.”
Reyes’ Favorite Four Books: “Miles, by Miles Davis; Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger; Grinding it Out, by Ray Crock; and, Artist for Life, by Bruce Lee.”
Four Leaders That Have Most Inspired Reyes: “Melvin and Mario Van Peebles. If it weren't for them, actors of color would not have such a strong voice. Oprah Winfrey; she has soared above every adversity imaginable and is now one of the most powerful women in the history of the world. Frida Kahlo; she took her pain and made it art which is a lot of what I do too as a painter. Also, she was a notable female painter and there aren't many of us around. Bruce Lee; as an Asian American, he faced many obstacles and transcended America's view of Asians. He took what he knew and what he did best and made a legend of himself by being one of the most influential entertainers in history.”
Reyes’ Four Favorite Entertainers/musicians: “Erykah Badu; for keeping it real - even in the mainstream. Peven Everett; an underground musician with a great sense of what the future of music sounds like. Dave Chappelle; for his ability to entertain and yet still maintain his integrity as an artist by not 'selling out'. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble; for providing us with an ear or what's to come musically for the future generations by fusing hip hop, jazz and other musical genres. They are some amazingly talented instrumentalists.”
Reyes’ Four Favorite websites: “myspace.com/flyladydi, art-dept.com, nyfa.org, blackstarnews.com.”


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