NOT-SO-SEXY with Mitchell Reece
At-home and personal with the multidisciplinary artist grounded in academia and community

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. This week we got intimate with artist and professor Mitchell Reece

From how he got into teaching, to hometown influences and why he believes art is a powerful tool to challenge the status quo, we get into his creative process and routines. Keep reading for more Mitchell.

What weights more in your practice, fine art or graphic design?

Lately, my work has been in a fine art space. Alternating between design and Art depends on the amount of service needed so, the balance has been used frequently in both.  

What drew you to teaching?

My family had a big influence in my decision as my Maternal and Paternal Grandmothers were educators. Backed by their influence, encouraging students to make projects that will change their communities or is worthwhile. It’s nice to see their fruition.

As a multidisciplinary artist grounded in academia and community, how has your work and routine changed over the past year?

I’ve been thinking about how to tell Black communities from the South and specifically Houston, Texas stories. That means reading up on past related and indirect news to inform which medium works. Recently, painting, architecture, and doing research on my neighborhood have been helpful narrating my history.

Why do you think art is a powerful tool to change the narrative and challenge the status quo?

You can research and begin to reshape our past and future. There are no limitations. We’re fed so much misinformation, artists have the sensitivity and insight in reimagining our ecosystems. 

As a teacher and art director at The Black School, do you feel like the current global landscape provides a ground for renewed curriculums and the birth of independent schools aimed at «decolonizing» education?

Certainly, through The Black School, we’re seeing how students particularly, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian, are benefiting from using their own stories, diaspora, and preferences to tell their stories. We’ve been taught through one lens for a while, once we see a cultivation of different backgrounds humanity will progress in an intentional direction.  

How does your hometown of Houston influence and inform your work?

On a micro level, I’ve been highlighting the paths of my maternal and paternal side of my family. Also researching the community I was raised Acres Homes & Studewood (Independence Heights) discovering new innovations such as living business spaces being provided through Acres instead of plots of land, that manifested for Black people during and post World War I has been vital to my projects. You gain a sense of kinship through the findings. Houston has a rich culture of music. Recollecting the greats of Screwed Up Click, Boss Hogg Outlaws, Swisha House. I’m also thinking about the sense of agency emitted from community leaders like Beulah Shepard, and astrological feats – My Grandfather’s facilitation of design mock-ups for Nasa Houston Mid 60’s spacecraft designs.  

How has moving to New York changed your artistic perspective?

New York is relatively tight in space but dense in culture. With that, I’ve seen the gracefulness and grittiness of how to push my work. You can be clean and polished but New Yorkers want to hear your story, I respect that. 

What does your studio look like?

Just enough space to get out some large ideas, the view is beautiful. We get to see Marcy Projects, a view of Manhattan’s downtown, and connecting bridges to the city on a sunny day. Some days it’s cluttered, others clean as I’m alternating the paintings to see how they look against one another. My tools are set somewhat organized so I don’t forget when something is right in front of me.  

Do you get messy when creating? Or are you very neat and meticulous?

Messy, paint all over the floors. But on canvas neatness is essential.  

What’s your work uniform?

Usually I’ll wear a pair of old pants drenched with paint markings from the work, a tee, & Nike’s.  

What is something that helped you stay sane throughout the pandemic year?

Def prayer and meditation, a cool fiancée, and FaceTiming family till I see them again. Sometimes I might binge watch my favorite past and present sitcoms too, and listening to soul music from the 1960’s.  

What is something you are looking forward to?

Traveling, visiting home again, pursuing some ideas I’d like to flesh out for furniture and definitely a good concert.  

Do you have any personal rituals or traditions?

Lately, prayer and affirmation in the morning, reading a few pages from a book of interest, currently reading Native Son by Richard Wright, also building a music playlist other folks and myself can listen to while working.  

What is your favorite restaurant to get take out from?

In NY Famous Fish- Harlem, in Houston, Esthers Soul Food. 

The worst part of the creation process?

Overthinking and downplaying your work.

How would your mom describe you?

Contemplative, creative, loves a good laugh- she’s the same.

NOT-SO-SEXY with Mitchell Reece
At-home and personal with the multidisciplinary artist grounded in academia and community

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. This week we got intimate with artist and professor Mitchell Reece

From how he got into teaching, to hometown influences and why he believes art is a powerful tool to challenge the status quo, we get into his creative process and routines. Keep reading for more Mitchell.

What weights more in your practice, fine art or graphic design?

Lately, my work has been in a fine art space. Alternating between design and Art depends on the amount of service needed so, the balance has been used frequently in both.  

What drew you to teaching?

My family had a big influence in my decision as my Maternal and Paternal Grandmothers were educators. Backed by their influence, encouraging students to make projects that will change their communities or is worthwhile. It’s nice to see their fruition.

As a multidisciplinary artist grounded in academia and community, how has your work and routine changed over the past year?

I’ve been thinking about how to tell Black communities from the South and specifically Houston, Texas stories. That means reading up on past related and indirect news to inform which medium works. Recently, painting, architecture, and doing research on my neighborhood have been helpful narrating my history.

Why do you think art is a powerful tool to change the narrative and challenge the status quo?

You can research and begin to reshape our past and future. There are no limitations. We’re fed so much misinformation, artists have the sensitivity and insight in reimagining our ecosystems. 

As a teacher and art director at The Black School, do you feel like the current global landscape provides a ground for renewed curriculums and the birth of independent schools aimed at «decolonizing» education?

Certainly, through The Black School, we’re seeing how students particularly, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian, are benefiting from using their own stories, diaspora, and preferences to tell their stories. We’ve been taught through one lens for a while, once we see a cultivation of different backgrounds humanity will progress in an intentional direction.  

How does your hometown of Houston influence and inform your work?

On a micro level, I’ve been highlighting the paths of my maternal and paternal side of my family. Also researching the community I was raised Acres Homes & Studewood (Independence Heights) discovering new innovations such as living business spaces being provided through Acres instead of plots of land, that manifested for Black people during and post World War I has been vital to my projects. You gain a sense of kinship through the findings. Houston has a rich culture of music. Recollecting the greats of Screwed Up Click, Boss Hogg Outlaws, Swisha House. I’m also thinking about the sense of agency emitted from community leaders like Beulah Shepard, and astrological feats – My Grandfather’s facilitation of design mock-ups for Nasa Houston Mid 60’s spacecraft designs.  

How has moving to New York changed your artistic perspective?

New York is relatively tight in space but dense in culture. With that, I’ve seen the gracefulness and grittiness of how to push my work. You can be clean and polished but New Yorkers want to hear your story, I respect that. 

What does your studio look like?

Just enough space to get out some large ideas, the view is beautiful. We get to see Marcy Projects, a view of Manhattan’s downtown, and connecting bridges to the city on a sunny day. Some days it’s cluttered, others clean as I’m alternating the paintings to see how they look against one another. My tools are set somewhat organized so I don’t forget when something is right in front of me.  

Do you get messy when creating? Or are you very neat and meticulous?

Messy, paint all over the floors. But on canvas neatness is essential.  

What’s your work uniform?

Usually I’ll wear a pair of old pants drenched with paint markings from the work, a tee, & Nike’s.  

What is something that helped you stay sane throughout the pandemic year?

Def prayer and meditation, a cool fiancée, and FaceTiming family till I see them again. Sometimes I might binge watch my favorite past and present sitcoms too, and listening to soul music from the 1960’s.  

What is something you are looking forward to?

Traveling, visiting home again, pursuing some ideas I’d like to flesh out for furniture and definitely a good concert.  

Do you have any personal rituals or traditions?

Lately, prayer and affirmation in the morning, reading a few pages from a book of interest, currently reading Native Son by Richard Wright, also building a music playlist other folks and myself can listen to while working.  

What is your favorite restaurant to get take out from?

In NY Famous Fish- Harlem, in Houston, Esthers Soul Food. 

The worst part of the creation process?

Overthinking and downplaying your work.

How would your mom describe you?

Contemplative, creative, loves a good laugh- she’s the same.

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