Friends of FV – Paulina Reyes

What do you do?

I am a multi-disciplinary creative from Mexico City, living and working in NY. 

Currently I work full time as a Creative Director at JKR, a creative agency where I lead a talented team of designers doing work for a wide range of clients.

Outside my full-time job, I enjoy teaching and lecturing as a way to give back to the design community. This also helps my own creative practice, where my main objective is exploration and working on projects I’m personally passionate about.

Following these personal passions has given me very interesting opportunities. I have gotten to do exciting collaborations with companies, organizations, and people whose vision I admire. From designing jewelry pieces in partnership with indigenous artisan Guadalupe Zeferino in Mexico for the MAP (Popular Arts Museum), to creating textile artwork for fashion companies I love, such as WHIT, and now Frances Valentine.

What is your process when working on a textile print?

Creating artwork for textile prints is one of my favorite types of projects to work on.

I will usually start by meeting with the designer or client I am doing the print for to get an idea of the collection the print will be part of, have an informal chat and look at any mood-boards, inspiration, color palettes, and shapes they might be considering.

Once I have a clear idea, I might do visual research. In the case of botanicals, I go to the flower market and get loads of flowers. I love painting from life, the gestures translate in a much more genuine way, that is harder to capture when painting from a picture or photograph.

I like working fast and with a very loose style. I am very particular about my workspace, the music, light, tools, and materials that I work with, but strive not to be particular about the work that I am doing. I love raw brushstrokes and you can’t be fussy about them!

For every print I design, I will likely create at least thirty art pieces. The most beautiful pieces tend to be the less precious, the less contrived.

Can you tell us more about the peony print?

I was very fortunate to work alongside Kate and Andy Spade when I first moved to NY. Learning from them, had an enormous impact in shaping my career. I made some of my closest friends that have become family, during this inspiring time of my life, and developed an approach to my work that has stayed with me through the years. I designed this print in honor of Katy, who loved peonies. I remember we always had fishbowl vases full of peonies in the office and I would hear her energetic steps in heels and laughter when she came into work.

What does personal style mean to you and how would you describe your personal style?

For me, personal style is an expression of what we choose to make ours in how we experience life. It starts with our character, evolves as we evolve, and is reflected in all the choices we make in what we share with the world.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my personal style is eclectic. I am very influenced by the places that I’ve lived - growing up in Mexico City and spending so many years in NY. I love art that evokes emotion and my sensibility tends to be a mix of simple and graphic as well as colorful and hand done. For my spaces, I gravitate to places with lots of light, that at the same time feel airy and intimate.

What do you find most inspiring?

I’m very inspired by people, and places that are fully committed to be who they are and deeply engage in their own exploration. An artist I fully admire for this is David Hockney, in his ability to explore new territories in what appears to be an endless commitment to discovery. Similarly, I have loved Leonard Cohen through the years for the way he captures ideas and emotions that are incredibly personal yet universal. A place that also gives me this feeling is Oaxaca, Mexico. There is a wonderful creative and culinary community that innovates in harmony with its cultural traditions.

My go to sources of inspiration:
Art and Architecture - David Hockney, Louise Bourgeoise, Sonya Delaunay, and Luis Barragán
Music and Dance - Leonard Cohen, Madredeus, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Isaac Hernandez.
Places – Oaxaca, Lisbon, and Lima

How long have you been in NY, and what do you love most about it?

I have been living in NY for the last 17 years. Perhaps my favorite thing about the city is its ability to be large and intimate at the same time. If there’s any interest you have, you are sure to find a community that’s passionate about it and will welcome you in. I have found wonderful teachers and friends through my various obsessions, which include figure drawing, printmaking, hypnosis, and tango.

All photos courtesy Catalina Kulczar @catalinaphotog