In Conversation with Jahmel Reynolds: Exploring Form through Afrofuturism
In this week’s One + One interview, curator and writer Veronica Elizabeth Thomas speaks to filmmaker and visual artist Jahmel Reynolds.
Reynolds takes the viewer on a visual journey with eye-popping collage art, borrowing inspiration from Black culture, Afrofuturism, and sequential arts. We admire his work, strategic use of color, and creative range and were eager to find out more:
VET: Am I wrong for sensing a Afrofuturism vibe? Could you tell me more about the inspirations behind your work?
JR: Yes, I'm definitely inspired by Afrofuturism, but I'm also inspired by Hip-Hop and mythologies, mainly modern-day mythologies, such as comic books.
I correlate the heroes journey of those tales to our journey in Blackness, as a means to honor everything that we were, are, and will be.
VET: There’s definitely a recurring theme of extraterrestrials and blackness, could you tell us more about that correlation?
JR: When I was a kid I always had a fascination with space operas, sci-fi/fantasy films, and space in general. I'm captivated by the voyage into the beyond and in terms of blackness. I've been on my own personal journey into the depths of me, just going beyond the surface and tapping into something pure. I think we're all on that journey, now more than ever.
VET: I love how some pieces can engulf an entire page while others are contained to just the center. How do you know when a piece is complete?
JR: All of my art is created through feeling, so I honestly can't tell you when. To me, if it feels finished, then it's finished.
"I've been on my own personal journey into the depths of me, just going beyond the surface and tapping into something pure. I think we're all on that journey, now more than ever."
VET: Between photography and digital, which is your favorite creative outlet?
JR: I love them all, but my Art and Photography are a by-product of my film-making, that's what I have my degree in. Art and Photography help me enhance the stories I want to tell, and it gives me a quicker creative release. Films take a while to develop and as a creative you need quick releases, so that you aren't compressing stored up energy. It's very therapeutic in that way.
VET: Are there any upcoming projects that we can look forward to seeing from you?
JR: There are various music videos that I shot and directed coming out this year and next year. Also I'm currently working on an Immersive Multimedia Art Series called the Wealth Series where I'm incorporating all of my creative outlets into one cohesive experience!