Reyna Howkins is a painter, printmaker, and textile artist who made art since she was a child, but has no adult formal art training. She grew up outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where her mother sent her for private art lessons in addition to the experience she got in school. She also took some printmaking and video classes at Amherst College, before taking a long break from making art. In 2003, Reyna learned about Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia, a community-based art school. She began taking printmaking classes there, and was hired to assistant teach children’s classes. As a printmaker, Reyna explored experimental techniques and worked with soft ground to build textures. In 2008, Reyna took embroidery with Marie Elcin at Fleisher, and found a new medium.
In the summer of 2017, Reyna tried painting for the first time since high school, through an abstract painting class with Kassem Amoudi at Main Line Center for the Arts. She was always intimidated by painting, especially the blankness of the canvas, but when she began the class she started by choosing intriguing color combinations and working from abstract photos she had taken of city scenes and shadows. After Kassem’s class, she became fascinated by intuitive painting techniques, and loved exploring color. Currently, Reyna is testing out ways to incorporate her love of painting and embroidery. She has printed out some paintings onto fabric and embroidered on top of them. In 2018, Reyna’s print “Killing Moon” was also featured on an album cover of Philadelphia band Later Fortune, whose members include Reyna’s brother Heyward Howkins. Reyna is an avid music lover and names her paintings and embroidery pieces after the songs that inspired them.
I love to paint, print, and embroider, but have no formal adult art training. I started acrylic painting in the summer of 2017, when I took a continuing education abstract painting class at Main Line Art Center. Before that, I had been a sporadic abstract printmaker and a fledgling embroiderer. I was always intimidated by painting, especially the blankness of the canvas, but when I began the class I started by choosing color combinations I was interested in and working from abstract photos I had taken of city scenes and shadows with my phone.
As I got more comfortable with the tools of acrylic painting, I looked for unconventional tools to experiment and challenge myself. I keep all types of “trash," such as the net bags that avocados come in, cardboard packaging, and a plastic flyswatter, and use these items to create new textures in my work. I find joy in the process of making art and rarely know how the result will look. I see the process as a flow of single choices built in succession to hopefully create a piece that evokes the joy of that process in the viewer. Currently I am working on a piece that combines my love of embroidery and my love of painting by stitching onto fabric printouts of my paintings.
Art Et Al, DaVinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA, April 2019
Women's History Month Exhibit, School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, March 2019
11th Annual Jinxed Broken Heart Show, Jinxed Fishtown, Philadelphia, PA, February 9, 2019
Bridging the Gap: Postcards of the All Nation of Art, AIR Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, February 8— March 10, 2019
NOW! WCA Philly & Women Holler at City Hall, Philadelphia, PA, January 14 - March 22, 2019
Collaborate Craft Change: Juried Craft Market and Residency, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, December 2018
Solo Exhibition, Original XIII Ciderworks, Philadelphia, PA, August 1 - August 31, 2018
Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA, September 2018
Clark Park Festival Art Show, Philadelphia, PA, June 2018
Sympathy for the Bevel, Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA, March 2007
Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA, October 2004
Assistant Art Teacher – Children’s Programs, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA, 2004-2006
Web Design Essentials Certificate, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 2014
Associate Degree in Specialized Technology, Multimedia, Philadelphia, PA, 1997
Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, 1994