20 Questions with Jesse Reno

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 15 Apr 2009

Portland-based artist Jesse Reno creates colorful paintings of shamanic beings, totem animals and Native American figures that are engaging and thought provoking. Intrigued with humankind's struggle to find our rightful place in the natural world, Reno’s work is both pleasing to the eye and the soul. Dip into the soul of the artist himself and read our 20 Questions with Jesse Reno below:


What's the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?

Started trying to remember a dream I was having, then I was deciding weather it was worth remembering dreams, then I decided to go back to sleep.


Something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess?

I spent a big chunk of my life playing and producing music.
Here’s a link to some tracks- www.jessereno.com/music.html

If you had one day left on Earth, what’s left to be discovered?

I spend almost all my time doing the things I love so id probably just treat it like another day – I’d paint, skateboard with my dog, have some margaritas, spin some records, play some guitar, hang out with my lady.


What is your first art-making memory as a kid?


Drawing and tracing animal pictures from Ranger Rick.


Do you need long periods of time alone, or are you energized by interaction?

Both. I get overloaded by socialization if it happens to many days in a row.

Is being in the dark with the lights out frightening or comforting?


It depends on the space and company.


What's the most non-art involved activity you continually find yourself enjoying?


Listening to music.


Have you been to jail? If so, why? If not, why not?


Nope. If I do something wrong it’s usually right and I don’t like getting caught.

What kind of car do you drive?


I don’t drive. I skateboard and ride a bicycle.


What's your biggest non-green inspired indulgence?


Air conditioning.


What is the single most important thing you did to breakthrough as a career artist?


Quit my day job, and put every bit of my energy into my art and promoting it.

Best hustle you ever pulled?


I don’t hustle people. I just hustle.


Are you ever bored?


Only if I’m trapped waiting somewhere unable to paint, draw, or listen to music. Sometimes flights or drives are just too long.


What excites you?


Watching a huge painting go from a mess to a finished piece I didn’t expect to see. Playing, performing music, spinning a great DJ mix, seeing my friends succeed, being pulled by my dog on a skateboard and passing someone on a bike going up hill.

2023 will look like . . . ?


Probably depends on where you’re standing.


If you could have a drink with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?


What a tangled question. First I said Sid Vicious, since he’s dead, and that’s a rare opportunity; probably one drink would lead to two and then maybe some chaos.


Then I thought a shamanic Native American artist, then I thought I don’t need to corrupt this guy with drinking, so then I thought maybe beck, but then I couldn’t decide if I thought that would be fun or not. So I guess I end on Tom Waits as it seems like he’d have a drink and it would be fun and still a pretty rare opportunity.


Last passport stamp:



Can’t stand:


Actions without purpose


Can’t live without:




Words to live by:


Ambition over direction
Some things you learn - some things you experience - some things are beyond logic
These are not things you should question
Desire will understand the things we cannot explain - hearts and their purpose
You can only gather what you reach for
Expand from within
Some wills are stronger than others
Mind over matter
The rise of thunder
Receiver of things - like energy that cannot be seen
Holder of keys
Forward - like a flower that just wants to blossom



More on Jesse Reno at www.jessereno.com



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